Act 43 of 2017 expanded the sale and use of fireworks in Pennsylvania to “consumer fireworks.” These fireworks have an aerial and explosive element compared to “ground fireworks” for sale prior to Act 43. Since enactment, public safety personnel have reported a significant increase in fireworks-related incidents and injuries, as well as significant constituent complaints. Furthermore, Act 43 preempts local regulation via municipal ordinance.
In 2020, The League updated its policy on consumer fireworks. The League is now advocating for a full repeal of Act 43.
Representative Schweyer and Senator Judy Schwank introduced House Bill 988 and Senate Bill 757, respectively, repealing Act 43 of 2017. These identical bills would reinstate the provisions that existed before Act 43 of 2017 only allowing for the use of novelty fireworks, providing standards for municipal permits for display fireworks and providing standard for the licenses and safety of facilities that sell fireworks.
Representative Freeman also introduced House Bill 1628 to amend Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) permitting local government to pass ordinances regulating consumer fireworks as long as it doesn’t conflict with Act 43 of 2017. It would allow municipalities to set a timeframe in which fireworks can be used and it would increase the penalty for illegal uses of fireworks.
Lastly, Senator Yaw introduced Senate Bill 894 constraining the hours of the day when fireworks can be used and substantially increasing penalties for selling or using fireworks in violation of the Law: a fine of no more than $1,000 for a first offense; a fine of no more than $2,500 for a second offense; and a fine of no more than $5,000 for a third or subsequent offense.