Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter joins others in call for firework legislation reform

Mayor Derek Slaughter Friday joined other mayors across the state calling for the state Legislature to reform a four-year-old law that made more powerful fireworks able to be purchased by the public.

The mayors want to see repeal of what’s known as Act 43 of 2017 and wrote to the state General Assembly

“We need to ensure everyone can enjoy the 4th of July in the safest and most responsible manner possible,” Slaughter said. “My office receives numerous complaints before, during, and after the 4th related to fireworks usage around the city.”

Slaughter and the other mayors are distressed about the increased use of consumer-grade Roman candles, bottle rockets and other aerial fireworks made legal four years ago.

Last year, residents of cities and boroughs were besieged daily, from sundown to sunrise, with the constant deafening noise and reverberation of these fireworks, the mayors stated.

The additional 12-percent fireworks tax added to the state’s 6 percent is not worth the stress and unease caused by the constant noise of the fireworks, the mayors stated.

Under the state law, the fireworks available for purchase may not be used within 150 feet of an occupied structure.

As cities and boroughs, populated by thousands of residents, it is difficult to find such open space.

Unfortunately, the state law preempts municipalities from regulating consumer fireworks via a municipal ordinance.

Beside the repeal request, the mayors asked that municipalities be allowed to set their own fireworks regulations so that the ordinance can protect the safety of residents.

Joining Slaughter in signatures on the letter were mayors including Mayor George C. Brown of Wilkes-Barre, Paige Gebhardt Cognetti of Scranton, Mike Lombardo of Pittston, Jeff Cusat of Hazleton, Kevin Coughlin of Nanticoke and Paul Roberts of Kingston.


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