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PRINTER'S NO. 800
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
679
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY WHITE, YAW, VOGEL, BARTOLOTTA, FOLMER, STEFANO,
WARD, VULAKOVICH, WAGNER, RESCHENTHALER, BREWSTER, SCARNATI
AND ALLOWAY, MAY 5, 2017
REFERRED TO AGRICULTURE AND RURAL AFFAIRS, MAY 5, 2017
AN ACT
Amending the act of May 15, 1939 (P.L.134, No.65), entitled "An
act relating to fireworks; defining fireworks; prohibiting
the sale, regulating the sale, offering or exposing for sale
and use of fireworks, except in certain cases; authorizing
cities, boroughs, towns and townships to issue permits for
fireworks displays, and to regulate the same; imposing duties
on the Pennsylvania State Police, sheriffs and police
officers; and providing penalties," further providing for
definitions, for sale, possession and use of fireworks, for
permits and for criteria for licensure; imposing a fireworks
safety fee; and establishing the Online Training Educator and
Training Reimbursement Account.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Sections 1, 3, 4, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4 of the act of
May 15, 1939 (P.L.134, No.65), referred to as the Fireworks Law,
are amended to read:
Section 1. The term "consumer fireworks" shall mean and
include:
(1) Any combustible or explosive composition or any
substance or combination of substances intended to produce
visible and/or audible effects by combustion and which is
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suitable for use by the public that complies with the
construction, performance, composition and labeling requirements
promulgated by the Consumer Products Safety Commission in 16 CFR
(relating to commercial practices) or any successor regulation
and which complies with the provisions for "consumer fireworks"
as defined in the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA)
Standard 87-1, or any successor standard[.], the sale,
possession and use of which shall be permitted throughout this
Commonwealth.
(2) The term does not include devices as "ground and hand-
held sparkling devices," "novelties" and "toy caps" in APA
Standard 87-1, or any successor standard, the sale, possession
and use of which shall be permitted at all times throughout this
Commonwealth.
The term "display fireworks" shall [be defined as provided in
27 CFR ยง 555.11 (relating to meaning of terms).] mean large
fireworks to be used solely by professional pyrotechnicians
licensed by the Department of Agriculture and designed primarily
to produce visible or audible effects by combustion,
deflagration or detonation. The term includes but is not limited
to:
(1) salutes that contain more than two (2) grains or one
hundred thirty (130) milligrams of explosive materials;
(2) aerial shells containing more than sixty (60) grams of
pyrotechnic compositions; and
(3) other display pieces that exceed the limits of explosive
materials for classification as consumer fireworks and are
classified as fireworks UN0333, UN0334 or UN0335 under 49 CFR
172.101 (relating to purpose and use of hazardous materials
table).
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The term "municipalities" shall include cities, boroughs,
incorporated towns and townships.
The term "occupied structure" shall include a structure,
vehicle or place adapted for overnight accommodation of persons
or for conducting business whether or not a person is actually
present.
Section 3. (a) Display fireworks may be possessed and used
by a person holding a permit from a municipality at the display
covered by the permit or when used as authorized by a permit for
any of the following:
(1) For agricultural purposes in connection with the raising
of crops and the protection of crops from bird and animal
damage.
(2) By railroads or other transportation agencies for signal
purposes or illumination.
(3) In quarrying or for blasting or other industrial use.
(4) In the sale or use of blank cartridges for a show or
theatre.
(5) For signal or ceremonial purposes in athletics or
sports.
(6) By military organizations or organizations composed of
veterans of the United States Army or Navy.
(b) A display fireworks permit may not be issued to a person
younger than twenty-one (21) years of age.
(c) The governing body of the municipality shall require a
bond deemed adequate by it from the licensee in a sum not less
than [five hundred dollars ($500)] fifty thousand dollars
($50,000) conditioned for the payment of all damages which may
be caused either to a person or persons, or to property by
reason of the licensed display and arising from any acts of the
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licensee, his agents, employes or subcontractors.
Section 4. [Nothing in this act shall be construed to
prohibit any licensed facility from selling any consumer
fireworks or the year-round sale of any kind of consumer
fireworks to out-of-State residents whose status is verified to
the licensee, provided the licensee retains proof of such status
and produces it for review upon request of the Department of
Agriculture and provided the same are to be transported directly
out of state by the seller or purchaser. Consumer fireworks and
display fireworks may be possessed and used by a person holding
a permit from any municipality at the display covered by such
permit, or when used as authorized by a permit for agricultural
purposes in connection with the raising of crops and the
protection of crops from bird and animal damage, or the use by
railroads or other transportation agencies for signal purposes
or illumination, or when used in quarrying or for blasting or
other industrial use, or the sale or use of blank cartridges for
a show or theatre, or for signal or ceremonial purposes in
athletics or sports, or for use by military organizations or
organizations composed of veterans of the United States Army or
Navy. No such permit shall be issued to a person younger than
eighteen (18) years of age.] (a) A person who is at least
eighteen (18) years of age and meets the requirements of this
act may purchase, possess and use consumer fireworks.
(b) A person may not intentionally ignite or discharge:
(1) Consumer fireworks on public or private property without
the express permission of the owner.
(2) Consumer fireworks or sparkling devices within, or throw
the same from, a motor vehicle or building.
(3) Consumer fireworks or sparkling devices into or at a
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motor vehicle or building, or at a person.
(4) Consumer fireworks or sparkling devices while the person
is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or any
other drug.
(5) Consumer fireworks within one hundred fifty (150) feet
of an occupied structure.
Section 4.2. Permission shall be given by the governing body
of any city, borough, town or township under reasonable rules
and regulations for displays of [consumer fireworks and] display
fireworks to be held therein. Every such display shall be
handled by a competent operator and shall be of such a character
and so located, discharged or fired as, in the opinion of the
chief of the fire department or other such officer as may be
designated by the governing body of the municipality, after
proper inspection, to not be hazardous to property or endanger
any person or persons. After such privilege shall have been
granted, possession and use of [consumer fireworks and] display
fireworks for such display shall be lawful for that purpose
only. No permit shall be transferable.
Section 4.3. Consumer fireworks shall be sold only from
facilities that are licensed by the Department of Agriculture
and that meet the following criteria:
(1) The facility shall comply with the provisions of the act
of November 10, 1999 (P.L.491, No.45), known as the
"Pennsylvania Construction Code Act."
(2) The facility shall be [in] a stand-alone [building and
shall be no larger than twelve thousand (12,000) square feet]
permanent structure.
(3) Storage areas shall be separated from wholesale or
retail sales areas to which a purchaser may be admitted by
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appropriately rated fire separation.
(4) The facility shall be located no closer than two hundred
fifty (250) feet from any facility selling or dispensing
gasoline, propane or other such flammable products.
(5) The facility shall be located at least [two hundred
fifty (250)] one thousand five hundred (1,500) feet from any
other facility licensed to sell consumer fireworks.
(6) The facility shall have a monitored burglar and fire
alarm system.
(7) Quarterly fire drills and preplanning meetings shall be
conducted as required by the primary fire department.
Section 4.4. [Applications for licenses to sell consumer
fireworks shall be submitted to the Department of Agriculture on
forms prescribed and provided by the department. The license
application shall be accompanied by an annual license fee of
five thousand dollars ($5,000) per location. Facilities in
existence on the effective date of this section and new
facilities shall be inspected by the Department of Agriculture
within thirty (30) days of receipt of a complete application for
a license. The Department of Agriculture shall issue a license,
or deny a license, within fourteen (14) days of completing the
inspection. A license shall be effective for one year from the
date the license is issued, and renewal of a license shall be
automatic upon payment of the license fee, but each facility is
subject to annual inspection by the Department of Agriculture,
and at other times at its discretion, during normal business
hours. No license shall be issued to any convicted felons or to
any entities where a convicted felon owns any percentage of the
equity interest in such entity.] (a) An initial application for
a license to sell consumer fireworks shall be submitted to the
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Department of Agriculture on forms prescribed and provided by
the department with a nonrefundable application fee of two
thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500). The application shall
also be accompanied by the appropriate annual license fee as
provided in subsection (b).
(b) The annual license fee for a facility licensed to sell
consumer fireworks shall be as follows:
(1) Seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500) for a
location up to ten thousand (10,000) square feet.
(2) Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for a location up to
fifteen thousand (15,000) square feet.
(3) Twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) for a location up to
twenty thousand (20,000) square feet.
(c) A facility shall be inspected by the Department of
Agriculture within thirty (30) days of receipt of a complete
application for a license. The Department of Agriculture shall
issue or deny a license within fourteen (14) days of completing
the inspection.
(d) A license issued for the sale of consumer fireworks
shall be effective for one (1) year from the date the license is
issued.
(e) License renewal shall be automatic upon payment of the
appropriate annual license fee under subsection (b), but each
facility shall be subject to annual inspections by the
Department of Agriculture and at other times as the department
may deem appropriate.
(f) No license may be issued to a convicted felon or to an
entity in which a convicted felon owns a percentage of the
equity interest.
Section 2. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
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Section 5.3. (a) In addition to any applicable State or
local tax, a fireworks safety fee is imposed upon the retail
sale of consumer fireworks at the rate of fifteen percent (15%)
of the sale price, including State and local sales tax, per item
sold. The fee shall be collected by the retailer from the
purchaser at the time of the sale and shall be remitted to the
Commonwealth on the same schedule as sales tax payments under
the act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2), known as the "Tax Reform
Code of 1971." Failure to properly collect and remit the fee
shall be grounds for the immediate revocation of the license to
sell consumer fireworks.
(b) The fireworks safety fee paid to the Commonwealth shall
be deposited into a special account in the State Treasury
designated as the Online Training Educator and Training
Reimbursement Account for the purposes of developing, delivering
and sustaining training programs for volunteer and career
firefighters in this Commonwealth. The Office of the State Fire
Commissioner shall distribute:
(1) not more than one million dollars ($1,000,000) of the
fee collected during the first year and five hundred thousand
($500,000) of the fee collected during each subsequent year,
shall establish guidelines for its use and shall provide annual
written report detailing the use of the funds to the chairperson
and minority chairperson of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Committee of the Senate, the chairperson and minority
chairperson of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of
the House of Representatives, the chairperson and minority
chairperson of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness
Committee of the Senate and the chairperson and minority
chairperson of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness
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Committee of the House of Representatives.
(2) The Auditor General shall periodically audit the account
for compliance with this act. The remainder of the fee collected
shall be transferred annually from the Online Training Educator
and Training Reimbursement Account to the General Fund and shall
be allocated for grants under 35 Pa.C.S. Ch. 78 (relating to
grants to fire companies and emergency medical services
companies).
Section 3. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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