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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe Schomacker (R)

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House of Representatives has approved legislation that would make it legal for residents to buy and use bottle rockets, firecrackers and other aerial fireworks around Independence Day. State Representative Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne) supported the measure.


"Every year hundreds of people drive to South Dakota, buy fireworks, then turn around and drive back into Minnesota and light them," Schomacker said. "Our current fireworks ban isn't stopping one person from shooting off a bottle rocket if they're determined to do it."


The Fireworks Freedom Act would allow aerial and audible devices to be sold and used from June 1 to July 10 each year. Only people above the age of 18 could make fireworks purchases. Local governments could charge an annual license fee to stores that sell fireworks and are able to prohibit sales.


According to some studies, Minnesota loses roughly $5 million in sales tax revenue every year when people drive across the border to purchase fireworks.


"When compared to previous fireworks bills, this legislation gives local government a say in enforcement," Schomacker said. "That was an important compromise to pass this bill."


The Fireworks Freedom Act will now be sent to the Minnesota Senate for further debate.