Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gov. Daniels Favors Local Control Of Fireworks

After signing into law one of the most liberal fireworks laws in the country a few months ago, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) now says he would support a new state law giving local governments the right to regulate the use of fireworks, including an outright ban on them. The Fort Wayne City Council is seeking legislative review of the new law, as are many cities across the state, after citizens began complaining about the menace the new law has created in their neighborhoods. Benjamin Lanka of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette reports:

The governor’s support of changing the state fireworks law came a day after the Fort Wayne City Council discussed ways it could prompt the legislature to review the legalization of fireworks.

Councilman Tom Hayhurst, D-4th, Tuesday said he has received calls of windows being rattled from the booms.

“It sounds like there’s new monster armaments out there,” he said.

Councilman Tom Smith, R-1st, suggested the council write a letter to the state to reconsider making fireworks legal.

“I have a feeling the legislature is hearing it from all around the state,” he said.
Smith said Wednesday he was glad to hear of the governor’s support to give cities control over fireworks use.

“I think that would be wonderful,” he said. “The more control we have, the better.”

Even as he announces his support for local regulation, the Governor is still defending his decision to sign the new law liberalizing their use. Lanka writes:

Daniels said the fireworks law – passed this year – was a good one, even as a member of the audience shouted that it wasn’t because it prevented her from walking her dog or sleeping with her windows open.

The governor, however, defended the law because it eliminated the practice of people buying fireworks, saying they wouldn’t be used in Indiana, but still setting them off in the state.“We were making liars out of honest people,” he said.

He also said he supported the 5 percent tax on the explosives that will provide cash to create the first state-supported system for firefighter training in Indiana history.

State Rep. Randy Borror (R-Ft. Wayne) also told Lanka that a review of the new law will be taken up by the legislature next year and that changes are likely. It looks like this issue has the makings of supplanting other controversial issues, such as the privatization of the toll road and daily saving times, at least for the time being.

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