House votes to OK sparklers in Arizona - East Valley Tribune: Politics

House votes to OK sparklers in Arizona

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Posted: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 7:09 pm | Updated: 12:40 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Arizona is halfway to making sparklers legal.

On a 34-21 margin, the state House voted Tuesday to make it legal for stores to sell and Arizonans to use sparklers. HB2258 also would legalize cone fountains, ground spinners and toy smoke devices.

The legislation now goes to the Senate.

If it gains approval there, the odds are excellent it will become law. Gov. Jan Brewer, who said she played with sparklers while growing up in California, already is on record as saying she believes the restrictions against the items make no sense. Brewer said she allowed her own children to play with sparklers in Mexico.

Tuesday's vote is a victory for the United States Fireworks Safety Commission, an organization that represents manufacturers. Lobbyist Mike Williams said the legislation would simply bring Arizona into line with more than 40 other states that allow sparklers and similar items.

But Arizona would not fall in line with all of those states: HB2258 would not legalize anything that actually explodes or shoots anything, including firecrackers and Roman candles, even though those are legal in some states.

Even if the measure becomes law, not everyone will be able to take advantage of the change.

As part of a political compromise, lawmakers agreed to allow city councils to declare the use of sparklers illegal within their city limits. But cities could not bar stores from selling the items and consumers from buying them.

Sales of sparklers to anyone younger than 16 would be prohibited throughout the state, though the law says nothing about adults providing them to youngsters.

Brewer's stance on sparklers is in sharp contrast to the state's last two Republican governors. Both Fife Symington and Jane Hull vetoed similar legislation in the 1990s.

Proponents didn't even bother to push the measure during the six years Democrat Janet Napolitano was governor.

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