Harrisburg, PA – December 15, 2021 – After today’s joint Pennsylvania House and Senate Agricultural and Rural Affairs committee hearing on fireworks law, Sen. Judy Schwank (D-11th District) provided the following statement:
“Today’s hearing was useful. We heard directly from local government officials, law enforcement officials, and a representative for fireworks retailers. I believe everyone at the hearing agreed that things need to change, but the next step in the process is unclear. The state legislature alone created the problems we’re seeing, not only in Berks County but statewide, in terms of fireworks. We must be willing to acknowledge that and take action. Increased local control was repeatedly referenced as a potential solution short of a full repeal of consumer-grade fireworks. This may be a path forward, but the undue burdens the state is placing on local first responders and the Pennsylvania State Police would still need to be addressed. Additionally, stiffening penalties would go a long way towards enforcing the current law, which is routinely flouted.”
“My position on this issue has been shaped in large part by constituents speaking out. In Berks County, the feedback from constituents has been overwhelming, consistent, and very clear. People want something to be done about this. There has been a disconnect between Harrisburg and what is happening elsewhere in Pennsylvania over the past few years when it comes to fireworks. Continuing to slow walk changing the law or insisting that this is just an enforcement issue doesn’t do anything for people who are fed up with inaction. We created the problem, it’s time for us to take ownership of that fact, listen to constituents, and work together to find solutions. After today’s hearing, I’m more optimistic we can get something through the legislature and finally take ownership of this.”
Earlier this year, Sen. Schwank introduced SB 757, which would repeal the sale of consumer-grade fireworks.