Lawmakers work to make fireworks legal in Illinois - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Lawmakers work to make fireworks legal in Illinois

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BENTON (WSIL) -- For many, fireworks are a key part of the Fourth of July, but Illinois is one of four states where buying them is illegal.

Some lawmakers are working to change that, while businesses on the other side of the state border, like the Traders Mall flea market in Paducah, are cashing in.

"Everybody's out grabbing all their last-minute stuff," co-owner Bonnie Smith said. "The past couple days have been very interesting, so we've been quite busy."

Smith said Independence Day is always busy for the Traders Mall flea market. The business runs a few pop-up firework shops off Interstate 24, just a few miles from the Illinois border.

"A lot of our customers do come from Illinois. They would like to see the laws changed," Smith said. "They're a little bit more conservative on the types of fireworks they purchase, but they would like to see them legalized in Illinois."

State Rep. Dave Severin, R- Benton, has been trying to legalize fireworks since he's been in office. He filed one bill in 2017 that even he admits would have legalized too much.

"There were some of the things that were in that bill that didn't need to be, so we took those out," Severin said.

He hopes another bill he filed this year, House Bill 2481, would legalize consumer fireworks you could easily find in other states.

"I'm optimistic, but I'm a very optimistic person, so we'll see what happens," Severin said. "There's a lot of work to do, but every year we're getting more attention, more people interested."

He said he still has some concerns, like fireworks being around pets and veterans with PTSD, but Illinois is losing out on too much revenue and business opportunities to other states.

Severin's bill has been stuck in committee since he filed it in March but he said he's optimistic something will happen on it, either during the fall veto session or sometime next year.

Another lawmaker, State Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R- East Dundee, filed a similar bill earlier on Tuesday to legalize fireworks. His bill is smaller in scale than Severin's and would only legalize firecrackers, sky rockets, and Roman candles.

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