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Published on Friday, January 29, 2016

Fireworks bill moves out of committee

HB 2348, providing local governments with flexibility regarding local fireworks ordinances, successfully moved out of the House Local Government Committee on Wednesday, January 27. A big thank you to prime sponsor Rep. Brad Hawkins (R-East Wenatchee) for all his hard work in getting the bill out of committee.

The bill was amended so that fireworks bans and regulations can only be declared when a city or county council makes a finding that “an extreme fire hazard” or “imminent wildfire threat” exist in the jurisdiction due to drought conditions. When this finding occurs, a city or county council may enact an ordinance that restricts the use of fireworks sold at retail, which may be more restrictive than the statewide standards and may go into effect less than one year after its adoption. Currently, fireworks bans and regulations take one year to go into effect. In addition, the amendment requires that city and county ordinances regulating the use of fireworks:

  • Have an effective date that is no sooner than 30 days after its adoption;
  • Be effective only during the period that the extreme fire hazard exists; and
  • Be effective for no longer than 6 months.

The 30-day effective provision may be waived if 1) the Governor has declared a state of emergency that includes the geographic area that is the subject of the ordinance; or 2) the legislative body of the city or county makes an additional finding that there is an immediate threat to life and property from the potential use of fireworks.

The bill was voted out of committee on a party line vote, with the Democrats voting for, and the Republicans voting against. This could prove problematic as we try and move the bill forward. We also understand that there is opposition from some tribes which could pose problems for the bill.

The bill now moves to the House Rules Committee where we need your help. Please contact members on the committee and ask that the bill be pulled to the floor for a vote.