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Indiana Municipalities

Create Attempt to limit fireworks displays in 2015

Senate Bill 124 would have allowed certain municipalities in Indiana to limit the days in which consumers could set off fireworks.

As all fireworks distributors and manufacturers are aware, fireworks are heavily regulated. A bill introduced in 2015 to the state Senate's Committee on Commerce & Technology would have added to current regulations, allowing local municipalities to prohibit the use of consumer fireworks except on certain days.

The bill did not leave committee after pushback from businesses and fireworks distributors concerned about the affect it would have on Indiana jobs and state revenue. While the bill never made it to the floor for a vote, the proposed measure is a good indication of the attempts by legislators to regulate the use of fireworks in Indiana.

Many municipalities in Indiana would have welcomed the bill. In Evansville, for example, local city officials have already debated limiting the use of fireworks to New Year's celebrations and the Fourth of July. State law prohibited the city from issuing its own ordinance last year, however.

Indiana's permissive laws on personal use of fireworks generate a 7 percent sales tax for the state, and a 5 percent tax to fund firefighter training in the state. Neighboring states, including Kentucky and Michigan, have already adopted Indiana's law as a model for their own states. Georgia currently has a similar bill at the governor's desk, while New York and Iowa also passed similar legislation, only to receive a veto.

Legal help for fireworks manufacturers and distributors

While everyone likes fireworks, it can be a difficult business. While SB 124 would have largely affected hobbyists and consumers, compliance and regulatory matters can still rapidly complicate the running of a niche business that involves an element of danger for every show.

As an indication of the amount of red tape for putting on a fireworks display, just a few compliance matters include:

  • Receiving permits from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
  • Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations of shows
  • Meeting transportation requirements from the Department of Transportation

In addition to federal and state regulatory compliance, there is also the threat of lawsuits should something occur at a show. When done safely, a fireworks display can create lasting memories for families. Displays must be done with safety always in mind, however, which must be the first priority of every show.

At the Law Offices of John H. Brooke, PC, our attorneys understand the fireworks industry like no other law firm. With expertise and experience in the business, we can help fireworks manufacturers and distributors of all sizes with issues of compliance, business contracts, business formation, and personal injury defense matters.

Keywords: Fireworks displays, fireworks regulations, compliance.

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