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State lawmakers consider loosening ban on fireworks sales [updated]

June 25, 2012 | 11:41 am

Fireworks
California lawmakers will once again consider loosening state rules on the sale of fireworks.

A measure written by Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) would permit fireworks to be sold between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1. Currently, fireworks may be legally sold only from June 28-July 6, though cities have the right to ban local sales if they choose.

The additional week for sales would be allowed only if the local government and the state fire marshal give their OK. Currently, about 300 communities statewide allow the sale of fireworks during the July 4th week.

[Updated 12:04 p.m.] Current fireworks sales in the state gross about $70 million during the July 4 week, according to Calderon’s office. They say the expanded sales would raise an additional$4.9 million in annual tax revenues for local governments and help fund a study looking at the connections between fireworks sales and potential threats to public safety.

The measure is backed by American Promotional Events, a company that manufactures fireworks. It has contributed to dozens of state and local lawmakers over the years, including Calderon.  

It is opposed by local fire officials, who say the expanded sale of fireworks increases the risk of injuries and fire.

There have been at least three attempts to allow the sale of fireworks around New Year’s Day over the last decade. All have failed.

The latest bill is scheduled to be heard Thursday in the Assembly Governmental Organization committee.

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--Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo credit: Jay L. Clendenin, Los Angeles Times

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