Photo credit: Nick Smith (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Iowa banned the sale and use of fireworks almost 80 years ago, and the Iowa Legislature just passed a bill that lifts the ban on many popular consumer-grade fireworks.

The Iowa Senate passed SF 489 with a 34 to 14 vote on March 21. On Tuesday afternoon the Iowa House passed the bill without amendments with a 52 to 40 vote. The bill now heads to Governor Terry Branstad’s desk. Branstad has signaled support for the bill.

When it becomes law SF 489 will allows the sale of consumer-grade fireworks such as firecrackers, Roman candles, and bottle rockets included in Iowa’s current ban.

The bill does allow cities and counties to prohibit the use, but not the sale, of consumer-grade fireworks for public safety or nuisance concerns.

A fire in Spencer, IA on June 27, 1931, started by a boy who dropped his sparkler on a pile of fireworks, which led to approximately $1.2 million in damages was partially responsible for the ban that the Iowa Legislature passed in 1938.

The Legislative Services Agency expects Iowa to gain $1.5 million in revenues from fireworks sales in FY 2018.

Those opposed to the bill cited public safety concerns, as well as, concerns about veterans diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Legislators supportive of lifting the ban said this is a liberty issue.

State Senator Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa) and State Representative Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley) were the floor managers for the bill. The bill will take effect once Branstad signs it just in time for Independence Day.

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