New bill would allow year-round sale of fireworks in Kansas
TOPEKA — As things stand, Kansas retail fireworks vendors are only allowed to sell their wares from June 27 through July 6, a shorter period than some neighboring states.
Seasonal Missouri retailers can sell fireworks starting at From June 20 to July 10 and from Dec. to 2 Jan. Missouri also allows the sale of fireworks year-round.
The Senate Commerce Committee is considering a bill to extend the deadline in Kansas from June 15 to July 6 — and allow year-round sales.
Senate Bill 378 was introduced by Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker. The legislation closely resembles a 2020 bill. The new bill introduces a definition of annual retailers. Those looking to sell fireworks year-round must follow state and local fire safety regulations and obtain a license.
Kansas Fire Marshal Doug Jorgenson said licenses would be issued by the state’s Office of the Fire Marshal, which does not intend to charge for the license.
Local governments would still control how fireworks are regulated in their jurisdictions.
Sarah Beagle, a fireworks owner in southeastern Kansas, said fireworks can be set off year-round in Allen County.
“Each town in the county sets its own regulations, and then the county itself sets its regulations,” Beagle said. “One hundred percent our largest counties, our most populated areas, absolutely – they shouldn’t be setting off fireworks at midnight on a Tuesday in mid-October when the kids are in school and people have a job. It makes sense.”
Philip Bradley of the Kansas Fireworks Association said he thought the bill covered almost everyone’s concerns.
“The bill or our association does not in any way want to infringe on the rights of local government to make the rules appropriate to this area, and we support that, and that was one of the amendments that we insisted on having” , Bradley mentioned.
Beagle said the bill would match Kansas fireworks season with seasons in surrounding states.
“We’re losing a lot of revenue to our surrounding states just because of what I’ve heard from my customers,” Beagle said. “For me, when we won the Super Bowl in 2020, there were so many fireworks that were lit that the National Weather Service could see it on their radar. To me, that’s just amazing, because where did they get them from? Sure, some people might save fireworks after the season. But for most people, if you’re like my family, it’s going to blow up that night.
Beagle said she was in favor of expanding the seasonal retail period as it would help both local retailers and larger ones.
“I think 13 days would be what we would add to the selling season – and that’s a lot of revenue we can make in those few days,” Beagle said.
Many seasonal retailers are looking to expand in the future, Bradley said.
“They’re looking to the future, and if the law were passed so they could do that, they would start making those plans, getting the financing they need, and getting into that type of business,” said said Bradley. “And, most of them would have a location in their area, so that would make even more of those sales for people … who go to Oklahoma and go to Missouri to stay in the state of Kansas.”