PHOENIX - Complaints about the use of fireworks across Arizona are prompting state lawmakers to make some changes.
A Senate committee advanced SB 1275 on Feb. 2 to restrict fireworks to certain days and times. If signed into law, cities and towns will eventually have to enforce the new restrictions, banning fireworks on nearly every day of the year.
"I had lots and lots of neighbors reach out to me and talk about fireworks and talk about the burden that it's putting on our community," says Amish Shah, Democrat State Representative.
The law would make it illegal to use consumer fireworks between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. daily – with two exceptions. On the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve, fireworks will be permitted up until 1 a.m. the following morning.
"It really does disturb the peace in the middle of the night," Shah said. "A lot of people have to go to work in the morning, and they're woken up by these things."
Bretta Nelson with the Arizona Humane Society says that July 5, and New Year's Eve are some of their busiest days of the year.
"It's not uncommon to see when those fireworks start going off, that pets get scared. They start jumping fences, dig out under fences, and it becomes such a situation for the pet, for the pet owner and also for animal shelters across the country. This is something we see every year," Nelson said.
The cities and towns will be the ones to enforce these regulations.
"This bill is a welcome change 'cause usually we are taking power away from cities. Now, we are giving them more power to involve law enforcement and hopefully get this issue under control," the Senate remarked.
Those who voted "no" did express concern in the hearing about how these new regulations would be enforced. Another lawmaker said she did not believe that fireworks were as big a problem as community members were making them out to be.
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