Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Alabama state Rep Lynn Greer (R-Rogersville) demonstrates GOP idiocy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More GOP stupidity.

I’ll save the diatribe.

Just read.

Fire officials, fireworks industry divided over proposed overhaul of state regulations

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 6:10 PM
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 6:13 PM

By George Altman

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — A proposed overhaul of state fireworks regulations drew firefighters and fireworks industry representatives to a public hearing in a House committee this afternoon, but each group was divided internally over the legislation.

More than a dozen people spoke either for or against House Bill 579 during a House Commerce and Small Business Committee meeting.

Representatives of the state’s municipalities came out strongly against the proposal, saying it would sap their control over regulating what fireworks can be sold and used locally.

“If something’s not broke, why (do) you want to fix it?” Kenny Clemons, executive director of the Jefferson County Mayors Association, asked the committee. “This law has been in effect for 25 years. We’ve learned to work with it. Some cities have fireworks; some don’t. But it is important that we leave that with the local cities and municipalities.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, told the committee that having gone decades without changes is itself a reason to update state fireworks rules.

“We’re just trying to enter the 21st century,” Greer said, adding that his bill would define fireworks in categories, whereas current law treats all types of fireworks the same way.

Greer’s proposal would legalize statewide the sale and use of certain non-aerial and novelty fireworks. It also would allow producers of large fireworks shows to skip the municipal approval process.

Backers of the bill speaking before the committee today included Tommy Glasgow, president of American Promotional Events Inc., also called TNT Fireworks. Glasgow said his Florence-based company, which is located in Greer’s district, is the country’s largest fireworks company.

“We feel the bill is strong. It’s strong for business in Alabama, and we feel that it is a safe bill, because if it’s not safe, we’re out of business,” Glasgow said.

But Adamsville Mayor Pam Palmer, whose family owns and runs Crazy Bills fireworks stands, said the proposal would allow Alabamians to buy the “biggest consumer fireworks items that are legal” under federal law.

“If they want to shoot fireworks in the middle of the crowd at Mardi Gras in Mobile or at Talladega speedway or the University of Alabama or University of Auburn during a football game, they can look at a police officer and tell them to kiss their fanny, because that (HB 579) says no city or county can regulate, prohibit the use, the sale, the transportation or the storage,” Palmer said. “Your neighbor can fill their house full of it. There’s nothing you can do.”

Fire officials from across the state also came to Montgomery to speak against the bill, including Mobile fire Chief Stephen Dean.

“Fireworks cause injuries. Our budgets are strapped, and I don’t have the resources or the manpower to run the additional cost, in all honesty,” Dean said.

On the other hand, State Fire Marshal Edward Paulk expressed support for the bill, saying that many of the concerns opponents highlighted in their comments “are against the law today, and they’ll be against the law once this amendment is passed.”

The bill would actually provide greater oversight powers for state officials to stop small “mom and pops” fireworks operators from conducting potentially dangerous fireworks shows, Paulk said. “This bill would ban fireworks at schools, unless it’s a licensed show, shot by a professional,” Paulk said.

The committee took no action on Greer’s bill today.


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