Fireworks ban faces demise in Roundhouse

Posted at: 03/07/2013 7:29 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Lawmakers in the state House of Representatives have gutted a bill that would have given local governments the power to ban fireworks sales during times of high fire danger.

The bill may not be technically dead, but it's probably time to dig a hole. Its sponsor, Albuquerque firefighter and state Rep. Emily Kane says it's pretty near worthless at this point.

On a 37 - 33 vote in the House Thursday afternoon, lawmakers adopted a substitute for the bill - a substitute that Kane says firefighters statewide can't live with because it basically doesn't change what's on the lawbooks now.

"We'll go into the fire danger season with the same cumbersome way of restricting fireworks and only be allowed to ban certain fireworks when we have extreme or severe drought," Kane said. "Apparently that's what we're going to have to deal with."

Many lawmakers said they are worried about the impact on New Mexicans who make their living in the fireworks trade.

"Most fireworks distributors have to order their aupplies and their inventories two years in advance," said Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, a Republican rancher from Roswell. "When we put this type of restriction on them at the last minute, they're kind of hurting now for the funds they've already expended."

Kane said firefighters and fire chiefs and fire marshals from all corners of the state will be back next year to support the same bill or something similar.

Gov. Susana Martinez supported the bill and urged lawmakers to pass it.