HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 2157 on July 11, which focuses on placing stricter regulations on fireworks after a 2017 law greatly liberalized their use.
The bill repeals the fireworks provisions included in the Tax Reform Code and transfers those provisions, with increased and additional criminal penalties, to Title 3 (Agriculture).
The new penalties include mandatory minimum fines for firework violations as well as four newly defined sub-offenses. The new minimum fine for first offenders is $500. For repeat offenses within three years of a prior conviction, the minimum fine is $1,000.
The bill says consumer fireworks may not be used between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. except on July 2-4 and December 31 when consumer fireworks may be used until 1 am. the following day. When July 4 falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, consumer fireworks may be used until 1 a.m. on the immediately preceding and following Friday and Saturday.
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The new bill will require people to give livestock owners and/or managers a minimum of three days notice before fireworks are used near any animals or livestock. Local municipalities would also have the authority to limit or restrict firework use if their city or town does not have a place to safely use them.
The bill also changes how the 12% levy put on fireworks is utilized. Currently, 2% of the additional tax goes to emergency services and remaining 10% to Pennsylvania’s general fund. House Bill 2157 will divert all 12%, approximately $10 million-$12 million annually, to emergency services uses.
The bill also allows the seizure of any unused fireworks if there is unsafe firework use.
Consumers must be 18 years old to purchase consumer fireworks under the updated legislation.