The state of Idaho has a ridiculous law regulating the use of fireworks. It prohibits the use of fireworks that fly more than 20 feet into the air, including bottle rockets and aerial displays, that are used for private purposes. However, they can be sold in the state without any problem. The buyer simply has to promise by signing a form that they will not use them in Idaho.
Yesterday House Minority Leader Rep. Mat Erpelding introduced legislation that would close this loophole, making the sale of the illegal fireworks illegal. However within hours on a vote of 9 to 6 it was shot down by the House State Affairs Committee.
Dennis Doan, Chief of the Boise Fire Department, released a statement on Monday:
I would like to thank Rep Erpelding for his leadership on this issue. It was clear by the actions of the committee today they do not care about firefighter safety, or if people’s homes and lives are being destroyed by illegal fireworks every year. The exorbitant cost to taxpayers and local governments, and the fact that six homes in Ada County were burned down last year, was not enough to influence their decision to print a bill which would allow a full hearing and dialogue about this important issue.
The ability to purchase illegal fireworks apparently trumps the right of residents to protect their home from fires. This summer when someone’s home burns down due to aerial fireworks you can blame the House State Affairs Committee.
The 2,500-acre Table Rock Fire in the Boise foothills last June was caused by illegal fireworks, burned a home, and cost taxpayers $341,000, according to Chief Doan.