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Legislature Hears Comment, Delays Action on Proposed Law Governing Sparkling Devices

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Legislature Hears Comment, Delays Action on Proposed Law Governing Sparkling Devices

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Legislature took public comment, but delayed scheduled action on a proposed new Local Law that would allow the sale of sparkling devices in restricted periods during the year. The law would exercise a local option to allow the devices to be excluded from the “Dangerous Fireworks” definition under New York State Penal Law.  Government Operations Committee Chairman Dan Klein withdrew the action resolution, with expectation to return it for consideration May 5, after hearing comment at the hearing.

Among those speaking were Ithaca Fire Chief Tom Parsons, Ithaca Board of Fire Commissioners Chair Bill Gilligan, and County Director of Emergency Response Lee Shurtleff, who all expressed concern about the safety of the devices, both from their use and to responders related to their storage.  The Board of Fire Commissioners has officially opposed the law.  Director Shurtleff said, “When the discussion is not about whether a product is dangerous, but, in fact, how dangerous, we’re entering a slippery slope.” 

Legislator Klein said he had heard from five fire and emergency services organizations in the county concerning the proposed law.  At the hearing, two representatives of the fireworks industry countered that the law would give the County the opportunity to regulate the devices, which they said are sold in compliance with safety requirements of the New York  Department of State.