Tompkins County
New York


Adoption of Local Law No. a of 2015 - Allowing for Sparkling Devices to be Excluded from the Dangerous Fireworks Definition as Permitted by New York State Penal Law Section 405(5)(b)


Department:County AttorneySponsors:
Category:Local LawFunctions:Local Law


  1. Printout
  2. Spark LL (This file has not yet been converted to a viewable format)
  3. Spark LL3-24-15 (This file has not yet been converted to a viewable format)
  4. Handout - Updated LL info
  5. LLa of 2014 (This file has not yet been converted to a viewable format)

Resolution/Document Body

WHEREAS, on November 21, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed into law Chapter 477 of the Laws of 2014 which amends the New York State Penal Law, the Executive Law, and the General Business Law to place further restrictions on the sale of dangerous fireworks, while at the same time recognizing that certain fireworks should not be labeled as "dangerous" when they pose little to no danger to the public, and should therefore be available for retail sale and public sale, and


WHEREAS, Chapter 477 of the Laws of 2014 allows for certain fireworks identified and described as “sparkling devices” to be excluded from the definition of “dangerous fireworks” and “fireworks” set forth in the Penal Law, and to be sold and used in counties that enact a local law authorizing such actions, and


WHEREAS, Chapter 477 of the Laws of 2014 limits the sale of sparkling devices in the State to the time periods from June 1st through July 5th of each calendar year and December 26th through January 2nd of adjacent calendar years, and to people eighteen years of age or older, and


              WHEREAS, the Tompkins County Legislature believes that allowing our County residents the use of safe “sparkling devices” will benefit them and our local businesses, and


              WHEREAS, the proposed Local Law and Chapter 477 of the Laws of 2014 are compliant with safety standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 1124) for the manufacture, transportation, storage, and retail sale of fireworks, and


WHEREAS, a public hearing was held before the Tompkins County Legislature on April 21, 2015, to hear all persons interested in proposed Local Law No. a of 2015, now therefore be it


              RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Government Operations Committee, That Local Law No. a of 2015 - Allowing for Sparkling Devices to be Excluded from the Dangerous Fireworks Definition as Permitted by New York State Penal Law Section 405(5)(b) is hereby adopted,


RESOLVED, further, That the Clerk of the Legislature shall publish in the official newspaper of the County a notice of adoption containing a synopsis of said local law and shall within twenty days file one certified copy in the Office of the County Clerk, and one copy with the Secretary of State.


Meeting History

Mar 24, 2015 3:30 PM  Government Operations Committee Regular Meeting

Ms. Kiefer said she would prefer to pass the resolution to hold a public hearing prior to the resolution adopting the law.

Mr. Wood said he amended the local law for clarification purposes and added a sales and use section.

Mr. Klein noted the use of “Common, Safe Items” and said he would prefer to replace that with “Sparkling Devices”. He explained that people often think of sparklers and such as not dangerous, however, there have been injuries as a result of their use. The use of “Sparkling Devices” would not imply their safety. The suggestion was accepted as friendly by the mover and seconder.

Ms. Kiefer said most sparklers acquired have the metal rod and she is pleased to see the law specifies the wooden sparker devices.

For the record, Ms. Kiefer noted that she believes the Committee should only be acting on the resolution to hold a public hearing.

Ms. Kiefer said often sparkers and items contained within the law are used for weddings and other special events and she expressed concern on the limited dates contained in the law.

MOVER:Glenn Morey, Member
SECONDER:Daniel Klein, Chair
AYES:Daniel Klein, David McKenna, Nathan Shinagawa, Glenn Morey
NAYS:Dooley Kiefer
Apr 21, 2015 5:30 PM Media Tompkins County Legislature Regular Meeting
May 5, 2015 5:30 PM Media Tompkins County Legislature Regular Meeting

Mr. Dennis said he has listened to the issues raised by the fire department representatives; however, he supports the proposed local law.

Mr. Stein said the statements made by the emergency response personnel have convinced him to vote against the proposed local law.

Ms. Kiefer said she used sparklers in her youth and would be very surprised if firefighters did not speak against this type of thing because it is part of their job. The idea that these devices are very dangerous has not been specifically broken out in the data that has been provided. She said she has taken the storage concerns that were raised seriously and has learned this morning that the Department of Emergency Response can be made aware of where any such devices might be stored so the information could be part of the responders knowledge when they go out to fight a fire. She said she supports the use of these devices that she feels are harmless.

Ms. Robertson said the only proponents of the proposal are those who sell the devices and none of them reside in or near Tompkins County. She said she feels she has to listen to the concerns that have been expressed by the people who live locally and who would be dealing with incidents that arise because of the devices.

Mr. Lane said he will support the proposed local law. Although he understands the concerns for safety that have been expressed by emergency responders there are things that currently exist that are not illegal such as incense, candles, gasoline, small propane devices and tanks that also carry a risk. He objected to the State of New York making each county decide on this and believes it will lead to confusion when a person can purchase and use in one county and not in another. He said people will not understand in which counties they are and are not legal.

Mr. Burbank agreed that it would be better to have a Statewide standard. He fears that something is being set in motion as these become more widely available and used in a casual way. He agreed there are many hazards that the public deals with every day but this Legislature doesn’t have to add another unless there is a compelling reason. He stated although people can use these devices and have no problem these devices are the single largest cause of injuries especially in children and will vote against this resolution.

The resolution was defeated by roll call vote.

MOVER:Dooley Kiefer, Member
SECONDER:Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Member
AYES:James Dennis, Kathy Luz Herrera, Dooley Kiefer, Michael Lane, Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, David McKenna
NAYS:Will Burbank, Daniel Klein, Martha Robertson, Glenn Morey, Nathan Shinagawa, Michael Sigler, Peter Stein
EXCUSED:Carol Chock