INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana lawmaker is continuing her push to increase the number of days local governments can decide when to allow fireworks.
Indiana law currently blocks local governments from restricting fireworks use between 5 p.m. and two hours after sunset on June 29 through July 3 and July 5 through 9. On July 4, communities must allow fireworks to be shot off between 10 a.m. and midnight.
A bill that was proposed earlier this year would narrow that 11-day period down to three days: July 3 through July 5.
“I’m not restricting it – I’m just saying let local communities decide what’s best for their community,” said State Rep. Donna Schaibley (R-Carmel), who has introduced the bill the past few years.
The idea has sparked debate in the Hoosier State.
“Many of these residents that have concerns have small children, nervous pets, or some are also veterans with some form of PTSD,” said Sue Finkam, a Carmel city councilor who supports the proposal.
After receiving complaints about fireworks from residents, Finkam said she wants her city to be able to decide when fireworks are shot off around the Fourth of July.
“Every one of our communities is different, right?” Finkam said. “We are much different than a rural community in North Central Indiana.”
But some Hoosiers have concerns.
“What happens on the Fourth of July when it rains?” said Steve Graves, executive director of the Indiana Fireworks Association.
Graves argues the bill will leave many Hoosiers less time to shoot off fireworks and hurt businesses that sell fireworks.
“Nobody wants to buy a product that they are not allowed to use,” he said. “And so that’s what will happen.”
The bill received a committee hearing this year but not a vote to advance to the House floor.
Schaibley said one concern she has heard from fellow lawmakers is a potential impact on the tax revenue collected from fireworks sales, which funds public safety training and disaster relief.
Schaibley said she hopes lawmakers can address that concern when she reintroduces the bill next year.
“I’m planning on working hopefully with the Ways and Means Committee and see if we can find a better funding mechanism for this,” she said.
We’ve reached out to the lawmaker who chairs the House Local Government Committee to find out more about why the bill did not receive a vote in committee. We’re still waiting to hear back.