SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KERO) — Fourth of July is officially over but that doesn’t mean the fight to stop illegal fireworks is over. Senate Bill 277 is looking to help California and the state fire marshal put an end to illegal fireworks.
23ABC's Brianna Willis spoke with two sponsors of the bill and they say while the bill won’t immediately stop all illegal fireworks across the state it will be a good step in the right direction.
A busy night for Bakersfield Fire crews
Dennis Revell a spokesperson for TNT and sponsor of the bill says for too long communities in California have been plagued by illegal fireworks.
"What this will do, and it will take time, but it will achieve a $1.9 million savings in disposal cost for the state of California and reallocate that $1.9 million to enforcement."
Revell says SB 277 plans to repurpose fireworks that are taken by law enforcement from across the state in an effort to keep illegal fireworks off the street.
“What SB 277 does is an attempt to achieve some savings in those disposal cost and reallocate those savings and additional revenue to enforcement efforts to keep illegal fireworks out of the state to begin with.”
Currently, the state fire marshal spends $2.1 million each year on the storage and destruction of illegal fireworks but with SB 277 there will be no cap on how much illegal fireworks the state will dispose of, and local authorities like here in Bakersfield will be able to seize more illegal fireworks.
Dan Peart from Phantom Fireworks, another sponsor of the bill, says it's important to know there has been zero opposition to the bill so far.
“For the smaller cities again, hopefully, they won’t have to focus on the transportation and the storage of these items and again, you can have more money dedicated to fighting the surge of illegal fireworks that are making its way into California and becoming a nuisance. I think it’s very important to know that the bill passed the Senate unanimously with no opposition."
How do bills start and some eventually become laws?
Bills start as ideas in the House of Representatives. After writing the idea down and working out the specifics, the bill is introduced. In this case, California Senator Bob Archuleta introduced SB-277 back in May.
The bill then goes before a committee where members discuss its contents before sending it to the House floor. Representatives then vote on the bill and if it passes it makes its way to the senate.
Senators have the chance to vote on the bill too and if it passes there it gets sent to the president's desk where he can sign it into law.
In Bakersfield, senators Shannon Grove and Melissa Hurtado both voted in favor of the bill.
"The use of illegal fireworks in the days and even weeks leading up to Independence Day is out of control. The constant loud noises push our communities to the limit, so I supported SB 277 to help our local governments get these widespread disruptions under control and prevent life-altering injuries such as the incident that occurred in Bakersfield just this week,” said Hurtado in a statement.
Peart adds that this bill supports cities across the state.
"This isn’t specifically an industry drive bill that benefits only the industry, but it benefits California and some of the cities within California as well."
The bill is now set to be heard in the Assembly Organizations Committee on July 12th. If the bill is supported by the committee it will continue to move forward.
According to the Kern County Fire Department, they issued 40 citations and seized 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks in partnership with the Kern County Sheriff's Office.