Fireworks restriction bill moving quickly through legislature

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) - Utah lawmakers are considering a bill that would give cities more leeway when restricting fireworks, but wouldn't allow an outright ban. It also lowers the number of days people can light them off.

Fire crews say last year's blazes sparked fireworks left them strained.

House Bill 28 came in response to the massive amount of fires started in 2017. Several cities tried to put in restrictions, but soon found they had few options.

Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R-Taylorsville) is the bill's main sponsor and said it works because all sides were at the table while writing it.

"This is compromise legislation," said Rep. Dunnigan. "It doesn't do what everybody wants it to on both sides."

Along with giving cities more power to restrict where fireworks can be lit off. It also makes it easier to hold people accountable for breaking the rules.

In the past agencies had to prove negligence in order to fine someone or hold responsible for damages. H.B. 38 changes that.

"If somebody discharges in a restricted area they're guilty," said Rep. Dunnigan. "Just by the fact that they discharged there. They're also responsible for any damage to property."

The bill comes as welcome news to many residents in Cottonwood Heights. The city tried to restrict aerials after a massive fire on the 4th of July, but couldn't.

Coty Romero has lived in Cottonwood Heights for five years and said she's glad more restrictions can now be put in place.

"I'm for it just because our lawn has been lit on fire twice," said Romero. "Thankfully it didn't rage out of control because we always stay home. We're too afraid to leave."

As a part of the compromise aerial fireworks will still be allowed. People can light them off July 2nd-5th, and again July 22nd-25th.

The bill unanimously passed in Senate committee and is now heading to the floor for a vote.

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