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Published on Friday, January 8, 2016

Bill authorizing cities to ban fireworks up for hearing

Rep. Brad Hawkins (R-East Wenatchee) and Rep. Mia Gregerson (D-SeaTac) have introduced legislation, HB 2348, that would remove the one year waiting period for local governments to adopt fireworks ordinances. This bill comes on the heels of one of Washington’s most devastating fire seasons in its history.

With an exceptionally dry and warmer-than-usual 2015 winter and spring, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency in June 2015. During that same period, he issued emergency burn bans throughout Washington. Ironically, the way in which current state law is drafted, no one has the authority to ban fireworks immediately. Any bans must undergo a one year waiting period before taking effect. This policy caused grave concern among many of our fire-vulnerable cities throughout 2015. With a strong El Niño before us, forecasters are again predicting a hot and dry 2016.

HB 2348 is scheduled for public hearing in the House Local Government Committee on Thursday, January 14 at 1:30 pm. AWC will be testifying in support.

To read more about the legislation and a press statement released by the House Republicans, see here. You can also find a fact sheet on AWC’s priority around emergency management and fireworks here.