Brick and Mortar Fireworks Stores  Sky King Fireworks is one of two brick-and-mortar fireworks stores located right off the Easton exit of I-78 in Northampton County. Photo by Bill Uhrich 12/14/2018 (Photo By MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images) Brick and Mortar Fireworks Stores Sky King Fireworks is one of two brick-and-mortar fireworks stores located right off the Easton exit of I-78 in Northampton County. Tweaks in Pennsylvania's fireworks laws may make the sale of fireworks legal only in the
Brick and Mortar Fireworks Stores Sky King Fireworks is one of two brick-and-mortar fireworks stores located right off the Easton exit of I-78 in Northampton County. Photo by Bill Uhrich 12/14/2018 (Photo By MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

New bill would limit the hours when fireworks can be set off and would provide greater penalties for improper sales or illegal use.

With the nation’s birthday and one of the biggest fireworks days of the year just around the corner, Pennsylvania lawmakers have advanced legislation to put more restrictions on the holiday favorite.

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee voted 6-5 this week to send House Bill 2157, introduced by Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), to the Senate floor for consideration. The bill would reform the state’s existing fireworks law by restricting their use to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. except during July 2-4 and Dec. 31, when they could be used until 1 a.m. There would be greater penalties for improper sales or illegal use.

The House passed the measure earlier this month by a vote of 160-38.

Under the bill, people would have to give livestock owners or managers three days’ notice before fireworks could be used near an animal housing facility. Local municipalities would get more explicit authority to ban their use if their city or town does not have a place where they can be used safely.

The bill also changes the use of a 12% levy put on fireworks above the sales tax. Current law directs 2% to emergency services and 10% to the state’s general fund. Farry’s bill would divert all 12% to various emergency services uses, or some $10 million-$12 million annually.

In 2017, lawmakers passed a new measure aimed to create a revenue source for the state and expanded what kinds of fireworks Pennsylvanians could use. But in the intervening five years since it went on the books, state officials have received complaints from communities and law enforcement about noise and safety.

Until the 2017 law change, fireworks in Pennsylvania were largely limited to sparklers and similar novelties. The changes permitted the sale of the full array of fireworks that meet federal consumer standards.