4th of July Holiday Tests Iowa's New Fireworks Law

Jul 3, 2017

Firecrackers, bottle rockets and roman candles – class one and class two fireworks - are now legally for sale in Iowa for the first time in decades.

Credit Ben Kieffer

In this River to River segment, host Ben Kieffer talks with the state senator who spearheaded the new law, as well as Iowans in charge of implementing the new guidelines, including Janelle Rettig, chair of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

Recently, the board approved a 90-day moratorium restricting the sale of fireworks within unincorporated areas of the county. Rettig says the board needed more time before allowing fireworks sales because the state law passed in the statehouse this year conflicts with local ordinances.

"If you're going to pass legislation like this, you should give us time to respond and get our ordinances in place," she says, "and there was no time."

Sen. Jake Chapman (R) of Adel calls the moratorium on fireworks sales a direct violation of state code.

"I find it unfortunate that you do have communities such as Johnson County, that has done a outright ban of sales, which is definitely contrary to state law and in fact was reiterated through a federal judge this last week, saying you can't do that," Chapman says.

In addition to Rettig and Chapman, Kieffer also talks with Dan Wood, acting special agent in charge in the fire prevention bureau of the State Fire Marshal’s office, who talks about how to stay safe when celebrating the holiday with fireworks this year.