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Just in time for your post-lockdown summer, Pa. lawmaker wants to rein in fireworks | Friday Morning Coffee

June 18, 2021 7:10 am

(Image via pxHere.com)

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

So here’s another sign that things are slowly returning to normal — we can start thinking about outdoor fireworks displays. And state lawmakers can start thinking about ways to regulate them.

Enter Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, who’s sponsoring a bill that would give municipal governments the authority to enact their own fireworks ordinances — as long as they don’t conflict with existing state law. Which should come as significant relief for local leaders concerned about things that go bang in the night.

“With the arrival of the summer months and Independence Day close at hand there is once again a growing concern on the part of residents regarding the use of consumer fireworks. Last summer we witnessed widespread abuse of the use of fireworks in many residential neighborhoods that proved very disruptive to people’s lives and undermined their quality of life by having to endure the discharge of such fireworks throughout the day and late into the night,” Freeman said in a statement released by his office. “This disruptive behavior is unacceptable and must be reined in.”

(Image via pxHere.com)

As it’s currently written, Freeman’s bill would limit the use of fireworks to “between 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with extended hours for certain holidays. Additionally, the legislation would require each consumer fireworks purchase to include a notification that provides the conditions, prohibitions and limitations for using fireworks.”

A first-time violator would be punished with a summary offense and a fine between $100 and $500. A repeat offense, committed within one year of a prior conviction, would be a third-degree misdemeanor, and violators would face a fine of between $500 and $1,000.

“We need to give local governments the ability to deal with this disruptive behavior and impose substantial penalties for violating local ordinances. My proposed legislation will give them that option,” Freeman said.

Freeman, who voted against the 2017 state law that allows those aged 18 and older to purchase consumer grade fireworks, also is sponsoring legislation that would repeal the state’s updated 2017 fireworks law, reverting to what was previously permitted in Pennsylvania, his office said.

“One of the reasons I opposed making these fireworks legal back in 2017 was because I thought they would be disruptive and unsafe,” Freeman said in a statement. “If those using fireworks cannot do it responsibly with consideration for how disruptive they can be to a neighborhood, then the Legislature has no other recourse than to repeal the 2017 fireworks law.

“If we can’t get the votes in the Legislature necessary for an outright repeal of the 2017 fireworks law then, at the very least, we need to enact my legislation to give local governments the authority to crack down on the abusive use of fireworks so that communities don’t have to endure the type of disruptive behavior caused by an irresponsible use of fireworks,” he concluded.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.
After meeting with activists, an audit of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results is a ‘very real possibility,’ a top Pa. Senate Republican has said. Stephen Caruso has the story.

A top Senate Republican who’s holding up cocktails-to-go has said that Pennsylvania has seen a ‘large uptick’ in alcohol-related incidents; state police data says otherwiseMarley Parish reports.

Legislative Republicans and the Democratic Wolf administration are continuing to debate the contours of charter school reformParish also reports.

Pennsylvania has preserved 30 farms, more than 2,300 acres, to the tune of $5.1 millionCassie Miller reports.

In a blow to LGBTQ parents, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against Philadelphia in a key adoption case, our partners at the Philadelphia Gay News report.

The chair of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee is seeking permanent scholarship funding for historically Black land grant colleges, Capital-Star Washington Reporter Ariana Figueroa writes.

In voting to deny medals to U.S. Capitol and D.C. Metro Police who defended them — and the U.S. Capitol — during the Jan. 6 insurrection, 21 House Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th Districthave hit a new low of election denialism, I write in a new column.

On our Commentary Page this morning, opinion regular Mark O’Keefe has a few thoughts about how to reform the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. And an addiction expert says it’s a bad idea to expand the sales of canned alcoholic beverages in the state.

En la Estrella-Capital: Las empresas de servicios públicos de Pa. dicen que pueden satisfacer las necesidades de energía del verano del 2021. Y con la Oficina de Aplicación de la Ley Canina al borde del precipicio, los partidarios dicen que es hora de un ‘voto al favor’ de los aumentos de las tarifas de licencia.

Philadelphia City Hall (Image via pxHere.com)

Elsewhere.
Philadelphia City Council
 has reached a budget deal that includes more money for violence prevention programs, the Inquirer reports.
Westmoreland County commissioners have overhauled the county’s election bureau, leaving the director’s job in limbo, the Tribune-Review reports.
PennLive takes readers inside York County’s new, $2 million morgue (paywall).
In the new Franklin & Marshall College poll, Pennsylvanians support major changes to state election law, LancasterOnline reports (paywall).
New rules for cocktail sales are causing confusion for Lehigh Valley restaurants and bars, the Morning Call reports.
A Luzerne County mayor says he thinks he can reach a settlement in a lawsuit alleging a Sunshine Act violation by the Wyoming Valley West School Board, the Citizens’ Voice reports (paywall).
Former Gov. Tom Ridge’s family is hoping for a full recovery, as he ‘faces a long road’ after suffering a stroke earlier this week, GoErie reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

 

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WHYY-FM has more on the ‘historic’ anti-violence funding deal that Philadelphia City Council reached on Thursday.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s approval rating has dropped 13 points from a year ago in the latest Franklin & Marshall College poll, WITF-FM reports.
Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Pittsburgh on Monday, PoliticsPA reports.
The healthcare industry is cheering the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, Roll Call reports.

What Goes On.
State offices are closed in observance of the Juneteenth Holiday.

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf
 has no public schedule today.

Heavy Rotation.
We’ll go out this week with a solo track from former Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr. From his 2014 LP, ‘Playland,’ here’s the hard-charging ‘Easy Money.’

Friday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Tampa notched a 2-1 win over the Isles on Thursday
, taking the series lead in Game 3 of their Stanley Cup semifinal match-up. The ‘Bolts’ Brayden Point scored for the sixth, straight game on the way to the win.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

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