June 20, 2018
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Legislators may consolidate fireworks restrictions into one bill

By Scott Thistle, Sun Journal

AUGUSTA, Maine — Several proposals placing new restrictions on the use of consumer-grade fireworks in Maine are likely to be rolled into a single bill, according to an author of one of the bills.

Rep. Michel Lajoie, D-Lewiston, said efforts to place some new restriction on fireworks, which were only recently made legal in Maine, had to be carefully balanced with concerns that too much regulation could quash a fledgling new industry in the state.

Lajoie, who offered a bill that would have repealed the legalization of consumer-grade fireworks in Maine, is a former fire chief and notes there have been unintended consequences from legalized fireworks across the state.

While his bill is unlikely to advance, Lajoie said another bill was being offered by Sen. Christopher Johnson, D-Somerville, which combines several issues related to fireworks, including their effect on farm animals and veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Johnson’s bill, LD 168, looks at five things, Lajoie said, including whether the state’s fire permit laws already restrict the use of fireworks during fire danger periods.

Lajoie said a subcommittee of the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee would present the combined bill to the full committee at some point either this week or next.

“It’s a ticklish situation,” Lajoie said. “We have to look at the new industry in our state, that’s been vacated for over 65 years, and our citizens and the concerns they have and more so now that the product is readily available on the market.

“Trying to strike a balance between the two is going to be a very difficult situation to obtain,” Lajoie said.


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