A proposal to modernize South Dakota’s fireworks laws and provide for more safety won a state Senate panel’s support Thursday.
Among the changes would be doubling the no-smoking zone to 50 feet around a fireworks stand and doubling the no-discharge zone to 300 feet.
The Senate Commerce and Energy Committee voted 6-1 to send it to the full Senate for further consideration.
Senator Brock Greenfield is prime sponsor. The Clark Republican said South Dakota’s fireworks laws had a lot of long-outdated references.
Lew’s Fireworks president Dan Raderschadt, of Watertown, was the first witness.
His father was Lew Raderschadt, who started the family business in 1959, and was part of a group that wrote many of South Dakota’s fireworks laws.
The son told the lawmakers that Senate Bill 56 was “a joint effort” involving fireworks sellers, the state Fire Marshal’s office and the South Dakota Retailers Association.
Another witness was retailers lobbyist Jim Hood. “Many of the businesses in this industry are members of our association,” Hood said.
No one testified against it.
But Democratic Senator Craig Kennedy, of Yankton, didn’t want a current section of law repealed. It classifies violations as class-one misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
But Republican Senator Lee Schoenbeck, of Watertown, disagreed with his fellow lawyer, noting that some violations in the proposal would be specifically designated as class-two misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
“I just think there’s probably a better way to do that,” Schoenbeck said.