The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians joined forces with other members of the Ohio Fireworks Safety Coalition in sending a letter to Representative Lou Blessing, who is chair of the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, stating their opposition to House Bill (HB) 226, a bill to legalize use of consumer fireworks in Ohio. HB 226 is sponsored by Representative Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and Representative Martin Sweeney (D-Cleveland).
Co-signers of the letter included the Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics; the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, the Ohio State Medical Association; the Ohio Ophthalmological Society; Prevent Blindness Ohio; the Ohio Osteopathic Association; the Academy of Medicine of Cleveland and Northern Ohio; and the Ohio Chapter, American College of Emergency Physicians.
- Allow Ohioans to buy, possess, and use 1.4G fireworks on their own property or others’ property with permission
- Require sellers to give safety pamphlets to buyers
- Impose a 4% fee on top of sales taxes to fund firefighter training and fireworks regulation
- Set up a 13-member study committee to consider alternative regulations
- Extend the long-standing moratorium on licenses to manufacture and sell fireworks to 2020
- Allow counties, cities, and some townships to either ban fireworks or restrict the times and dates they may be used.
HB 226 marks the fifth attempt by state legislators to legalize consumer fireworks since 1996. Currently, illegal possession or discharge of fireworks is a first-degree misdemeanor carrying up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail for first offenses. Buyers are required to take purchased fireworks out of state within 48 hours, though they are no longer required to sign a form promising to do so.