A bill that would've let Californians buy "safe and sane" fireworks through New Years Eve died in committee Thursday.
A bill that would’ve added some bang to your New Year’s celebration died in committee Thursday when the legalization of vendors to sell “safe and sane” fireworks from Christmas to New Year’s Day in some California cities stalled in the California State Senate’s Appropriations Committee.
Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) championed the bill for its ability to generate revenue for non-profit and community organizations through the sale of fireworks.
The bill aimed to provide a safe alternative to the use of illegal fireworks by discouraging holiday revelers from shooting bullets into the air, Calderon told NBC4 in a statement.
SB 1468 was sent to the appropriations committee by a 12-1 vote on Aug. 8. The bill on Thursday landed in the suspense file.
“We’re working on trying to get it out,” said Ulisses Sanchez, communications director for Calderon.
Pasadena Fire Chief Calvin E. Wells submitted an opposition to the bill on July 30 to the Pasadena mayor and City Council.
“In addition to the general risk posed by fireworks over July 4th, sales of fireworks over New Year would have additional significant and alarming dangers for the City,” he said in the documents.
In 2010, fireworks were blamed for about 15,500 reported fires – including 1,100 structure fires and 300 vehicle fires – and 14,100 other fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
About 60 people were injured and eight died as a result of fireworks-ignited blazes that year, the most recent for which data is available.
Children ages 5 to 14 are at the highest risk of fireworks injuries, nearly twice the risk of the general population, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
UC Irvine Burn Center director Dr. Nicole Bernal says she has seen an increase in firework-related burns every year since she started working at the center three years ago.
Fireworks deemed “safe and sane” can still cause burns, said Bernal, director of the only regional burn center for Orange County.
The most common injuries seen by the handheld “safe” fireworks are severe hand burns, she said. In July, the center saw a patient that received severe burns from their clothing catching on fire from a small pyrotechnic.
“‘Safe and sane’ is OK in adults,” said Bernal. “The biggest way we can make the most benefit is to limit fireworks around children.”
Of the fireworks-related injuries that the center sees, most involve children, Bernal said.