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Gov. Mike DeWine vetoes SB 113 that would have allowed Ohioans to purchase, legally use fireworks

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Posted at 4:26 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 19:30:40-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine announced late Friday afternoon that he has vetoed Senate Bill 113, a bill that would have closed a loophole in state law by allowing consumers to purchase and legally use fireworks during major holidays.

The bill aimed to change Ohio's current fireworks regulations that allow residents to purchase and posses consumer-grade fireworks but requires them to transport out of the state within two days time.

Had the bill passed, Ohioans would have legally been able to set off the fireworks they purchase during major holidays such as Fourth of July weekend, New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Juneteeth, Cinco De Mayo and Chinese New Year, as well as on the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays leading up to and following Labor Day weekend, New Year's Eve and Diwali.

DeWine's veto means the loophole, referred to as the "liar's law," will remain in place, and Ohioans will still be unable to legally set off the fireworks they purchase.

The governor said the bill was not in the best interest of Ohioans, citing issues such as the ability for Ohioans to set off fireworks on a minimum of 25 separate holidays a year for 24-hours each day and the increase to the size of fireworks stores that would be allowed without any additional safety features.

Right now, the majority of states allow residents to discharge consumer-grade fireworks in some capacity. Ohio isn't one of them and ranks only behind Massachusetts in terms of the strict fireworks regulations. SB 113 would have made Ohio one of the least restrictive states, which is another reason DeWine said he vetoed the bill.

"For these reasons, this veto is in the public interest," DeWine said .

Here is the entire Senate Bill 113 veto message from DeWine:

"Pursuant to Article II, Section 16, of the Ohio Constitution, which states that the Governor may disapprove of any bill, I hereby disapprove of Substitute Senate Bill 113 and set forth the following reasons for so doing as it is not in the best interest of Ohioans.

"Substitute Senate Bill 113 (SB 113) would allow the discharge, by nonprofessionals, of fireworks, including bottle rockets, firecrackers, and aerial fireworks, at all hours of the day (twenty-four hours per day) on a minimum of twenty-five (25) separate holidays in a calendar year (if certain holidays fall on a Sunday then two days would be allowed for that holiday increasing the number of allowable days).

"The bill doubles the allowable square footage of fireworks stores, increasing them from 5,000 sq. feet to 10,000 sq. feet, without requiring adequate safety features in those stores with enhanced square footage.

"Since the Scottown, Ohio, (Lawrence County) fireworks store tragedy in 1996, there have been 2 major studies, one by Battelle Labs in 2000 and another study by Southwest Research Institute in 2008 (produced for the fireworks industry) to help find better ways to build and operate fireworks stores. SB 113 does not require compliance with the safety measures outlined in these studies but nevertheless doubles the square footage of stores that are selling these devices to the public.

"SB 113 would be a dramatic change in Ohio law, which would make Ohio one of the least restrictive states in regard to fireworks laws.

"For these reasons, this veto is in the public interest."

RELATED: Bill that would close state's fireworks loophole soars through Ohio Senate

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