Panel to examine Maine fireworks sales bill

Posted Feb. 27, 2011, at 1:30 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 27, 2011, at 4:35 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A legislative committee is taking another look at a proposal to legalize fireworks sales in Maine.

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has scheduled a work session on Rep. Douglas Damon’s bill to remove Maine’s prohibition on the sale and use of consumer fireworks. The Bangor Republican’s bill also establishes a licensing protocol for sellers of consumer fireworks.

It’s not clear whether the committee will vote Monday. Damon says fireworks spark about $8 million in sales annually in neighboring New Hampshire, so Maine is losing sales tax revenue and licensing fees that could be used to assist local fire departments and emergency responders.

He also sees access to fireworks as a personal freedom issue.

The fire marshal’s office has consistently opposed similar legislation in the past and no one from that office was allowed at a hearing earlier in February.

A similar bill that came up in 2009 fizzled in the State House.

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