Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On February 11, 2021, Piper Hansen of the Arizona Republic reported that State Senator David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista) has introduced Senate Bill, SB 1334 to allow more aerial fireworks. Here is the link to the story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/legislature/2021/02/11/aerial-fireworks-legal-arizona-bill-legislature/4343018001/ .

Gowan wants more fireworks, not less…and why not? In his financial disclosure statement of 2021 that every state legislator has to file with the Arizona Secretary of State, you will find that he works for TNT Fireworks. It is one of the largest distributors of fireworks and operates those pop-up tents selling fireworks that spring up in parking lots everywhere just before a legal fireworks period.

At the very least Gowan has a conflict of interest in offering and in advocating for legislation that directly benefits his employer. Has he declared such a conflict? If he is not required to do so, then perhaps his time would be better spent introducing and advocating for a conflict of interest statute that applies to all members of the state legislature.

Gowan has been successful in the past in getting approval for more generous fireworks laws. He was successful in adding two more fireworks events this year – Cinco de Mayo and Dawali.  

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns, an organization that represents its cities and towns members, has already announced it opposition to this new, proposed law saying that it is concerned with an increase in citizen complaints, physical injury and fire danger. To date Gowan’s bill has not been assigned to a committee.

What Valley cities and towns want are more restrictions. Councilmembers received more complaints than ever before with people often describing their neighborhood as “Beirut.”

Here are the legal periods in which non-aerial fireworks can be used:

  • Cinco de Mayo – 3 days in May (a newly added event)
  • Independence Day – 11 days in July
  • Dawali – 2 days in November (a newly added event)
  • New Year’s Eve – 13 days in December and January

This event schedule is nuts. I continue to advocate for a two day event window for any legal fireworks event. For example, I propose that non-aerial fireworks be allowed on July 3rd and July 4th only between the hours of 7:30 PM to 12:30 AM. That’s it. No one needs 11 days to celebrate the 4th of July or 13 days to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

There is no consistency in the fireworks events schedule. It’s very confusing. If people knew that there was a two day window for any legal fireworks event, it would certainly simplify the rules for everyone.

I think it’s time for all of us to let Mr. Gowan know how we feel about his latest effort to further enrich his employer by allowing aerial fireworks as well as letting your state representatives know that you support some meaningful legislation to curb the insane proliferation of fireworks, especially in your densely populated neighborhoods.

You can email Mr. Gowan at dgowan@azleg.gov. You can email your legislators by using the initial of their first name with the complete last name@azleg.gov . An example would be ssmith@azleg.gov .

Are you fed up? I am.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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