Citing safety, Dayton vetoes fireworks billby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio,
Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Supporters of a bill that would have legalized more powerful backyard fireworks in the state say they're disappointed it won't become law.
Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill over the weekend citing safety concerns, and the measure doesn't appear to have enough votes for an override.
"They may be fun, but they're also dangerous. I don't want somebody's eye put out, somebody's hand blown off," Dayton said. "I don't want it on my conscience that I opened that door and resulted in that kind of casualty or even fatalities."
Garry Hanson of Precocious Pyrotechnics in Belgrade says Minnesota is among many states whose neighbors have legalized aerial fireworks. He says Minnesota missed an opportunity.
"It's a tremendous amount of money the states are losing to other surrounding states, plus their injury rates have gone down and every state has shown the injury rates," he said. "So it's frustrating, because if they say we got a problem, they just made the problem worse."
Dayton admitted to being torn over the issue, but said he was swayed by opposition from fire chiefs and other safety officials. Opponents of the bill also say while fireworks injuries have decreased nationwide, Minnesota injuries have increased since sparklers were legalized in 2002.
But Hanson says the bill would have addressed some of the safety concerns. He says Minnesotans will continue using fireworks illegally, which could be less safe.
Supporters of the bill also argued that any Minnesotans who want to set off fireworks can easily obtain them in neighboring states, and that police rarely enforce Minnesota's existing laws.
Elizabeth Dunbar is a general assignment reporter for MPR News.