NO. 15.  AN ACT TO PERMIT THE SALE AND USE OF SPARKLERS.

(H.44)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  20 V.S.A. § 3131 is amended to read:

§ 3131.  DEFINITIONS

The term "fireworks" shall mean and include means any combustible or explosive composition, or any substance or combination of substances, or article prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or an audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration or detonation, and shall include including blank cartridges, toy pistols, toy cannons, toy canes, or toy guns in which explosives are used, the type of balloons which require fire underneath to propel the same that are propelled by explosives, firecrackers, torpedoes, sky rockets, Roman candles, Daygo cherry bombs, sparklers or other fireworks of like construction and any fireworks containing any explosive or flammable compound, or any tablets or other device containing any explosive substance, except that the sparklers.  The term “fireworks” shall does not include toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns, or other devices in which paper caps containing twenty-five hundredths 0.25 grains or less of explosive compound are used, providing they are so constructed that the hand cannot come in contact with the cap when in place for use, and toy pistol paper caps which that contain less than twenty-hundredths 0.2 grains of explosive mixture, the sale and use of which shall be permitted at all times.  Provided, however, that the The term “fireworks,as herein used, shall not be held to mean and does not include fixed ammunition for firearms, and the or primers therefore for firearms.  The term “sparkler” means a sparkling item that is in compliance with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations and is one of the following:

(1)  A hand-held wire or wood sparkler that is less than 14 inches and has no more than 20 grams of pyrotechnic mixture.

(2)  A snake, party popper, glow worm, smoke device, string popper, snapper, or drop pop with no more than 0.25 grains of explosive mixture.

Sec. 2.  20 V.S.A. § 3132 is amended to read:

§ 3132.  PROHIBITIONS; PERMITS

(a)  Except as hereinafter provided in this section, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, co-partnership, or corporation to offer do any of the following:

(1)  Offer for sale, expose for sale, sell at retail or wholesale, or possess, use fireworks unless the person has been issued a permit by both the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the municipality in which the person offers for sale and stores the fireworks.

(2)  Use, possess, or explode any fireworks; and it shall also be unlawful for any person, firm, co-partnership, or corporation to transport unless the person has been issued a permit to display fireworks pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

(3)  Transport fireworks except in interstate commerce. 

(4)  Offer for sale or sell hand-held sparklers as described in subdivision 3131(1) of this title to a minor.

(5)  Offer for sale or sell sparklers that are not in compliance with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations.

(b)  Provided, that the The state fire marshal shall have power to adopt reasonable rules and regulations for the granting of permits for supervised public displays of fireworks by municipalities, fair associations, amusement parks, and other organizations or groups of individuals.  The state fire marshal and the department of labor and industry shall compile an annual report of all injuries to person and property resulting from the use of fireworks and sparklers.

(c)  Every such Any display for which a permit is issued shall be handled by a competent operator to be approved by the chiefs of police and fire departments of the municipality in which the display is to be held and shall be of such a character, and so located, discharged or fired as, in the opinion of the chief of the fire department, or in towns where there is a municipality with no fire department, the board of selectmen selectboard, after proper inspection, shall not be hazardous to property or endanger any person or persons.

(d)  Application for permits shall be made to the chief of the fire department, or in towns where there is municipalities with no fire department, the board of selectmen selectboard, in writing, at least fifteen 15 days in advance of the date of the display.  After such privilege shall have the permit has been granted, sales, possessions, use and distribution of fireworks for such the display shall be lawful for that purpose only.  No permit granted hereunder under this section shall be transferable.

Sec. 3.  20 V.S.A. § 3135 is amended to read:

§ 3135.  PENALTIES

Any person, firm, co-partnership, or corporation violating the provisions of this that:

(1)  Violates this subchapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding subject to a fine of not more than $100.00 for each violation or by imprisonment not exceeding thirty imprisoned for not more than 30 days or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(2)  Presents an indoor firework display without first receiving a permit as required in this subchapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not more than $5,000.00 or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both.

Sec. 4.  ANNUAL SPARKLER REPORT

The annual report on sparklers compiled by the state fire marshal and the department of labor and industry as required in 20 V.S.A. § 3132(b) shall be provided to the House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs and the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs.

Sec. 5.  DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY; SPARKLER

             STORAGE RULES; PUBLIC EDUCATION

The Commissioner of Labor and Industry shall:

(1)  Adopt rules relating to the safe storage of sparklers that are permitted for sale in this state, and those rules shall be consistent with the National Fire Protection Association Model Code 1124.  The rules shall include a requirement that local firefighting organizations be notified of the local storage of sparklers in quantities in excess of 125 pounds. 

(2)  Collaborate with representatives of the fireworks industry and the fire safety community to design and implement a public awareness campaign to educate Vermonters about the issues related to the products included in 20 V.S.A. § 3131 including the safe and appropriate use of products authorized for sale in Vermont and the risks associated with products that are illegal and prohibited for sale.  This campaign shall include public service announcements on television and radio and printed material available to the public.

(3)  Report to the House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs and the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs regarding the design and implementation of the public awareness campaign no later than December 1, 2003.    

Sec. 6.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on passage.

Approved:  May 6, 2003