As we have said before, our view of legalized fireworks in Iowa is mixed. We understand both sides of this discussion.
We acknowledge existing support for fireworks among Iowans and appreciate the economic benefits of capturing part of a business Iowa used to lose to border states (including Nebraska and South Dakota) each year, but we respect firefighters, emergency services providers and health care providers who oppose them for safety reasons and we sympathize with residents who don't want related noise, or worse, in their neighborhoods.
As a result, we weren't strong advocates for legalizing fireworks in 2017, but we weren't opponents, either. Frankly, we would have been OK with either outcome.
In the end, we believe Iowa reached a reasonable, middle-ground position in which the possession, use and sale of fireworks were made legal on and near the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve, but individual communities were allowed to limit or ban discharge.
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In our view, no good reason exists for change in this approach, so we oppose a bill introduced in this year's legislative session under which cities and counties would be required to allow discharge of fireworks on Independence Day.
The bill under consideration would not impact the city of Sioux City today because the discharge of fireworks is allowed on July 4 in our community by ordinance. However, the city should have the right to change the ordinance in the future if local leaders believe circumstances warrant change. Similarly, cities in which discharge bans have been passed shouldn't have fireworks forced on them by the state.
In our view, local leaders are in better position to know if fireworks should or should not be legal within their local jurisdictions than are legislators in Des Moines.
Lawmakers should leave the state fireworks law the way it is.