DES MOINES — A proposal to legalize home fireworks displays in Iowa failed to launch Wednesday at the Iowa Capitol, and a key state lawmaker said the legislation is likely grounded this year.
A Senate committee Wednesday shelved a proposal to allow Iowa residents to display some consumer-grade fireworks around the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve.
Sen. Bill Dotzler, D-Waterloo, said there was not enough support from lawmakers to advance the proposal.
Time is running out on any future efforts, as legislators are close to finishing their work on the 2016 session.
“I would say yes, it’s dead,” said Dotzler, who managed the fireworks legislation.
Iowa is one of four states in which only sparklers and novelty fireworks are legal, while three states ban all home fireworks, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. The other 43 states permit some consumer-grade fireworks.
Supporters of legalizing fireworks in Iowa say residents should be able to use them to celebrate holidays like the Fourth of July. Opponents cite potential safety issues and say the noise causes stress for pets and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dotzler said Senate Democrats largely are split along urban-rural lines: Many rural legislators support legalizing fireworks, while many urban lawmakers don’t.
The House in 2015 passed a more expansive bill legalizing home fireworks. Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, who managed that bill, said he was disappointed the proposal appears to have failed in the Senate this year. He said he hopes to try again next year, provided he wins re-election in November.
“There are going to be new members in the House, new members in the Senate. So, my hope would be that we have more freedom-minded, freedom-loving representatives and senators that want to allow Iowans the opportunity to exercise this privilege for themselves,” Windschitl said.
Dotzler said he, too, will continue to work to generate support for legalizing fireworks.
“I think it’s something that’s going to be an ongoing discussion here at the Capitol, and someday I believe it will pass,” Dotzler said.