CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The above video is from a previously published story.
On Friday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed a bill that would have allowed residents to legally shoot off fireworks on certain holidays, including Fourth of July weekend.
"SB 113 would be a dramatic change in Ohio law, which would make Ohio one of the least restrictive states in regard to fireworks laws. For these reasons, this veto is in the public interest," wrote DeWine in his veto message.
Senate Bill 113, sponsored by Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem) and Sen. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), would have permitted Ohioans to discharge consumer-grade fireworks in the state on the following days:
- New Year's Eve/Day
- Chinese New Year
- Cinco de Mayo
- Memorial Day Weekend
- July 3,4,5 and the previous and following weekends
- Labor Day Weekend
In his veto, DeWine pointed out two key problems with the bill: Fireworks being discharged by "nonprofessionals" at all hours of the day, plus the ability for fireworks stores to double their square footage without requiring additional safety measures.
"Substitute Senate Bill 113 (SB 113) would allow the discharge, by nonprofessionals, of fireworks, including bottle rockets, firecrackers, and aerial fireworks, at all hours of the day (twenty-four hours per day) on a minimum of twenty-five (25) separate holidays in a calendar year (if certain holidays fall on a Sunday then two days would be allowed for that holiday increasing the number of allowable days)," wrote DeWine in his veto message.
"The bill doubles the allowable square footage of fireworks stores, increasing them from 5,000 sq. feet to 10,000 sq. feet, without requiring adequate safety features in those stores with enhanced square footage."
DeWine added that there have been two studies done since a 1996 fire at a Scottown, Ohio fireworks store that claimed the life of nine people. The governor says SB 113 does not require compliance with the safety measures outlined in these studies, but "nevertheless doubles the square footage of stores that are selling these devices to the public."