Here’s an overview of the bills proposed for the 2011 Texas Legislative Session relating to fireworks.
  • HB 662 by E. Rodriguez Re: to authorizing certain counties to adopt buffer zone regulations and comprehensive land development plans; providing a penalty; referred  to the Committee on Land & Resource Management, hearing on 3/22/2011 and left pending in Committee.  http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB00662I.htm   Analysis: AGAINST. While this bill doesn’t specifically mention fireworks, any expanded powers that allow counties to specify what can be used for property that is not in a city is a concern for the fireworks industry.
  • HB 1684 by Fletcher Re: to the regulation of fireworks in areas annexed by a municipality for limited purposes; referred to the Committee on Urban Affairs, no hearing scheduled to date.  http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB01684I.htm  Analysis: FOR.  Limited purpose annexations allow municipalities to circumvent the requirements in the law to provide services to annexed areas.  They are done with little or no advance notice to fireworks vendors.  In some areas, like Houston, the annexations have been done only so certain areas in Harris County can ban fireworks.
  • HB 1836 by Hughes Re: to the sale of fireworks on and before Texas Independence Day; referred to the Committee on County Affairs, scheduled for public hearing on 4/14/2011. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB01836I.htm  Analysis: FOR.  The impact of this bill on fireworks sales and consumption is relatively small but any chance to expand the use of our product is a good thing.
  • HB 2023 by McClendon Re: to county regulation of sound levels; providing a criminal penalty; referred to the Committee on County Affairs, left pending in Committee on 3/31/2011. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB02023I.htm  Analysis: FOR.  The bill exempts fireworks use though the wording appears to be off.
  • HB 2617 by Harless Re: to the regulation of the sale and use of fireworks by certain counties; providing penalties; referred to the Committee on County Affairs, scheduled for public hearing on 4/14/2011. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB02617I.htm  Analysis: AGAINST.  This is the “Harris County Bill” that would allow it to ban fireworks in the unincorporated area of the county.  Harris is the only county with more than 3.3 million people.
  • HB 3349 by Turner Re: to the extension of a declaration of a local disaster referred to the Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety, no hearing scheduled to date. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB03349I.htm   Analysis: AMEN! FOR.  (I believe this is the bill that clarifies the ability of the local counties to mis-use the disaster act for fireworks though the website text is screwy.)
  • HB 3388 by Fletcher Re: to the transport of fireworks within a municipality; referred to the Committee on Urban Affairs, scheduled for public hearing on 4/13/2011. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB03388I.htm   Analysis: FOR!  No more stakeouts of fire marshals outside of fireworks stands.  If you buy fireworks, you can drive without worry to a local where it’s legal to use them.
  • HB 3500 by Isaac Re: to the rules adopted by the commissioner of insurance regulating the manufacture, transportation, storage, and retail sales of fireworks; referred to the Committee on Insurance, no hearing scheduled to date. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB03500I.htm   Analysis: FOR.  The current hodgepodge of fireworks rules in Texas is better handled by a national standard.  This is as good as any.
  • HB 3618 by S. Miller Re: to the regulation of restricted fireworks; referred to the Committee on County Affairs, scheduled for public hearing on 4/14/2011. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB03618I.htm   Analysis: FOR.  Clarifies the role of the Texas Forest Service in determining drought conditions.
  • HB 3632 by Hamilton Re: to the effect on local regulation of the use and sale of fireworks; referred to the Committee on Land & Resource Management, no hearing scheduled to date. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB03632I.htm  Analysis: FOR. Stops cities from annexing property to shut down fireworks locations.
  • SB 134 by Wentworth Re: to the regulation of fireworks by counties; providing a criminal penalty; referred to the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, no hearing scheduled to date. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/SB00134I.htm  Analysis: AGAINST.  Allows counties to hold an election to ban fireworks.  It’s not reasonable to ask industry to deal with different regulations in every single county.
  • SB 337 by Gallegos Re: to the authority of certain counties to enact noise regulations; providing a criminal penalty; referred to the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, no hearing scheduled to date. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/SB00337I.htm  Analysis: AGAINST.  A back door to ban fireworks by noise regulations.
  • SB 608 by Rodriguez Re: to the regulation of fireworks by counties; imposing a criminal penalty; referred to the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, no hearing scheduled to date. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/SB00608I.htm  Analysis: AGAINST.  Fireworks customers already pay a 2% tax on top of regular city and county sales taxes.  That’s enough!
  • SB 1156 by Lucio Re: to the sale of fireworks on and before Memorial Day; referred to the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, no hearing scheduled to date. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/SB01156I.htm   Analysis: FOR.  The impact of this bill on fireworks sales and consumption is relatively small but any chance to expand the use of our product is a good thing.

What You Can Do

Call, fax or write the members of the committees that will hear these bills.  Most fireworks bills are heard by either the House Committee on County Affairs or the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

Here’s the links to both:
http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/Committees/MembershipCmte.aspx?LegSess=81R&CmteCode=C210
http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/commit/c520/c520.htm
Best strategy is to write relevant to your personal experience in your own words.

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