By Michael Norton
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE -- The House on Wednesday gave initial approval to legislation legalizing sparklers and other small-scale forms of fireworks such as party poppers, glow worms, and toy pistols, although the bill's sponsor said he expected pushback from the fire marshal and fire chiefs.
In an interview, Rep. George Peterson (R-Grafton) said the bill - an act relative to novelty sparklers - is modeled after laws in other states and stops well short of full legalization of fireworks.
"It's nothing that to me is really offensive," Peterson said. "It would in essence take sparklers and some novelty items out of the definition of fireworks and they would be legal for sale in the Commonwealth."
The goal of the bill, Peterson said, is to increase sales of novelty items and "allow people to celebrate with a little bit more pizzazz on holidays and the Fourth of July."
Asked about his concerns over accidents, Peterson emphasized the importance of parents teaching their children about the proper handling of sparklers and other products and said the state "cannot regulate away every instance of a situation like that."
He said he'd make his arguments for the bill to fire chiefs, but expressed concern that they will block the bill (H 3262), which needs a second affirmative House vote in order to advance to the Senate. "They are a pretty effective group when they get their mind to it," he said.
The bill's cosponsors include Reps. Josh Cutler (D-Duxbury), Paul Frost (R-Auburn) and Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown).