The Iowa Legislature passed a law legalizing the sale and discharge of fireworks. The entire bill is about 10 pages long and deals mostly with the licensing of those who desire to sell fireworks. For purposes of this article I’m not going to discuss all the requirements to obtain a sales license. Instead I’ll try to highlight the important points relative to the discharging of fireworks and how it impacts the citizens of Osceola.
First, while the bill legalizes the sale and discharging of fireworks, the Legislature gave Counties and Cities the ability to “opt out” if you will. In other words, Counties and Cities can pass ordinances banning the discharge of fireworks completely or pass ordinances that are more restrictive on the days and hours fireworks can be discharged. Some Counties and Cities have completely banned their discharge while others have limited the discharge to one day and between certain hours.
Osceola has elected to wait, before passing any ordinances, to see how well the new State Law is obeyed. The police department has been tasked with tracking calls during the times and dates below and will forward that information to the city council. They will review it and decide whether or not to pass ordinances relative to the discharge of fireworks next year.
Here are the annual dates and hours authorized by the new State law:
June 1 through July 8, each year 9 a.m., to 10 p.m.
July 4 and the Saturday and Sunday immediately prior to, 9 a.m., to 11 p.m. and immediately preceding the 4th.
Dec. 10 through Jan. 3 each year 9 a.m., to 10 p.m.
Dec. 31 each year 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. the immediately following day
The Saturday and Sunday immediately prior to 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and immediately following Dec. 31.
The law requires the purchaser of fireworks to be at least 18 years of age and requires fireworks to be discharged on your own personal private property or the personal private property of another with their consent. Fireworks cannot be discharged on public property or parks belonging to cities, counties or the State.
The new law, while authorizing the discharge of fireworks and providing dates and times for their discharge, does not permit the disturbance of others. Therefore, if the police department receives noise complaints we will ask whoever is discharging the fireworks to stop regardless of the hour. If compliance isn’t gained after the warning then citations may be issued for the noise. This is no different than in years past. The complaining party will be asked to sign a noise complaint in order for the citation to be issued. This too, is no different than in years past. If a signed complaint is not obtained the department will not stop the discharge of the fireworks. If the City or County is under a burn ban issued by the State Fire Marshal, the discharge of fireworks is also banned.
Of course we encourage everyone to be safe when discharging fireworks.
If you have questions regarding this new law or any other law please contact the police department.