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DeWine vetoes bill that would allow Ohioans to legally set off fireworks

Currently, the law says that fireworks purchased in the state must be taken out of Ohio within 48 hours of purchase and can't be set off in the state.

Gov. Mike DeWine has vetoed a bill that would have allowed Ohio residents to legally set off fireworks on certain holidays.

Senate Bill 113, sponsored by Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem) and Sen. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), would have allowed Ohioans to discharge consumer-grade fireworks.

Under the bill, setting off consumer-grade fireworks would be limited to New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day weekend, Juneteenth, July 3, 4, and 5, as well as the Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays preceding and following; Labor Day weekend, and Dewali, a festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.

“SB 113 would be a dramatic change in Ohio law, which would make Ohio one of the least restrictive states in regard to fireworks laws,” DeWine said in a statement. “For these reasons, this veto is in the public interest.”

The proposal sought to remove the state’s current requirement that Ohioans purchasing consumer-grade fireworks must take them out of state within 48 hours and can’t be set off in Ohio.

In his message, DeWine referenced a 1996 fire at a fireworks store in Lawrence County where nine people died.

DeWine added he does not want to legalize fireworks in Ohio until more safety measures were enacted.

The bill, which cleared both chambers with veto-proof majorities, will now go back to the Legislature where lawmakers can override DeWine’s veto with a three-fifths vote.

If they are successful, the override will be the governor’s second since taking office in 2019. The first override took place in March over how the state should respond during a health emergency.

To read DeWine's full veto message, click here.

Statement from Columbus Division of Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin

"There is no denying that fireworks have provided thrilling entertainment for over 12 centuries. We also cannot deny that they come with a high risk of property damage and injury, sometimes fatal. Central Ohio witnessed a tragic example of how things can go bad in a split second with the passing of Columbus Blue Jacket goalie Matiss Kivlenieks. We encourage everyone to leave the fireworks to the professionals."

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