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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 30, 2019 10:52 AM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Addressing Unintended Consequences of Act 43 of 2017 (Fireworks)

In response to numerous constituent concerns received by my office, I will soon introduce two pieces of legislation to address some unintended consequences of Act 43 of 2017. It is my hope that a combination of education, community awareness and strict enforcement can help to alleviate the negative impact Act 43 of 2017 has had on many groups.

Document #1

Description: Bill #1: Amending PA Consumer Grade Fireworks Law (Act 43 of 2017)

In response to numerous constituent complaints and concerns expressed by burn prevention and fire safety organizations,  I  will soon introduce legislation to amend Pennsylvania’s  Fireworks Law.  With the passage of Act 43 of 2017, consumers over 18 years of age can now purchase and use “Class C” or “consumer-grade” fireworks that include firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets, and similar fireworks that contain a maximum of 50 milligrams of explosive material. 

While, for most of us, fireworks are synonymous with summer, too often the noise and light, especially from the recently-approved consumer grade products, have a negative and long-lasting impact on many in our communities: veterans who have served our country and suffer from PTSD, families with young children, pet and horse owners and senior citizens.

In 2018, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated 9,100 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries, with 62 percent of them occurring during the month surrounding the Fourth of July.  In that same year, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand took a consensus position that  “firework use should be limited to professional display; explosive materials should only be handled by professionals.”

My bill proposes to:
  • Increase the distance from an occupied structure for using consumer fireworks from 150 ft. to 500 ft. 
  • Increase  penalties for violation from $100 to $1000 and increase in offense to misdemeanor
  • Limit the use of consumer grade fireworks on private property to specific times of day/year.
  • Require reporting of emergency and fire incidents related to fireworks for collection in database that can be referenced and utilized by all first responder disciplines. 
  • Provide option to set local regulations for consumer fireworks. 
It is my hope you will join me in sponsoring this legislation that aims to allow us to continue to enjoy our celebrations while being mindful to those in our communities who are being adversely affected by Act 43. 

Document #2

​Bill #2: Fireworks Safety Education Grant Program

​I also plan to introduce a related bill that will use a portion of the tax revenue generated by the sale of consumer fireworks to establish the Fireworks Safety Education Grant Program, a competitive grant available to organizations to be used to support and create firework safety awareness/education campaigns across the Commonwealth.