Kriesel bill allowing more fireworks passes first committee testMinnesota lawmakers are considering allowing bigger and aerial fireworks. They already are being used, Rep. John Kriesel said, because they are brought in from Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota.
By: Don Davis, State Capitol Bureau
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota lawmakers are considering allowing bigger and aerial fireworks.
They already are being used, Rep. John Kriesel said, because they are brought in from Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota.
“My neighborhood sounds like Fallujah,” said the Cottage Grove Republican, who lost both legs in an explosion near Fallujah during the Iraqi war.
Kriesel said Minnesota loses revenue from forbidding fireworks available in neighboring states. The state banned most fireworks until 2002, and still outlaws some of the more powerful ones and those that shoot into the air.
Fire chiefs and related organizations opposed the bill, which passed a committee hurdle Thursday but has other committee vote ahead of it.
“What most people think is a safe and fun thing to have do have potential consequences,” said former state Fire Marshal Tom Brace, now representing the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association.
“Let the professionals use fireworks items,” he said, adding that there has been a 40-fold increase in fireworks injuries since 2002.
The bill would allow fireworks sales in tents, which Dan Peart of Phantom Fireworks said would be dangerous. A tent cannot provide the same protection as a hard-sided building, he said.
But Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, said he likes allowing sales in tents and allowing a wider variety of fireworks.
“It seems too bad that we have so many people thinking the Minnesotans cannot be trusted,” said Cornish, chairman of the public safety committee that approved Kriesel’s bill Thursday.
“When a kid picks up a Black Cat and it goes off in his fingers, it is learning,” Cornish said. “He won’t do that next time.”