Sunday, February 13, 2022

Mayors frustrated by fireworks law [letter]

As our residents are well aware, the legalization of consumer fireworks in 2017 has resulted in fireworks activity well beyond the normal holiday celebrations.

They have become a regular weeknight and weekend occurrence during the year, especially in the summer months. This use is illegal, as there is virtually no place within Lancaster city and Lancaster County boroughs to legally use consumer fireworks.

Since 2017, community leaders, members of law enforcement, fire personnel and residents have faced many sleepless nights worrying where these fireworks will land, how long they will be shot off and whether they will start a fire or cause injuries.

Lancaster city and many boroughs, along with first responders, have been tasked with enforcing an unenforceable, expensive and irresponsible state law. We have met the challenge by devoting time, money and personnel to respond to complaints.

However, the unpredictability of when and where consumer fireworks will be shot off, as well as the prevalence of their use, has hindered our efforts, as has the need to catch fireworks users in the act in order to cite them.

As local government officials, we are committed to our duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of all our residents. However, we cannot fulfill this duty when this ill-conceived law hinders our enforcement efforts and does not allow for stricter local regulation.

The General Assembly passed an unenforceable and expensive law that has negatively impacted Pennsylvania’s residents and local governments, and now is the time to fix it. The law should either be repealed or substantially amended.

Enough is enough. We call upon the state House and Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees to hold a joint hearing on the impacts of consumer fireworks in order to vet the dangers and unenforceable nature of this law, and to work with local governments to either repeal the law or find a mutually agreeable solution that allows for effective local enforcement.

The local public safety burden of this law, not to mention the avoidable tragedies of loss of life and property since its enactment, prove that the time to fix this law is way past due.

Lancaster County Mayors’ Association

Rod Redcay, chairman, Denver Borough

Danene Sorace, City of Lancaster

John Schmidt, Adamstown Borough

Scot Funk, Manheim Borough

James Andrew Malone, East Petersburg Borough

Tim Bender, New Holland Borough

Ralph Mowen, Ephrata Borough

Bruce Ryder, Strasburg Borough

John McBeth, Akron Borough

David Aichele, Millersville Borough

Timothy Snyder, Lititz Borough

Leo Lutz, Columbia Borough

Anthony Cavallaro, Quarryville Borough

Steve Mitchell, Mountville Borough

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