Session: 2021-2022

ACLU-PA Position: Opposes

HB 2157 would repeal the fireworks provisions in the Tax Reform Code and would add those provisions—with increased and new criminal penalties—to Title 3 (Agriculture).

These new penalties include establishing mandatory minimum fines for existing fireworks violations as well as four new suboffenses with enhanced grading and mandatory minimum fines for each type of violation. For the underlying offenses, the bill would impose fines that differ significantly from other similarly graded offenses. Furthermore, it would grade subsequent convictions for illegal sales of consumer fireworks as first-degree misdemeanors, the same as indecent assault or endangering the welfare of a child. And subsequent convictions for selling federally illegal explosives or illegally selling display fireworks would be enhanced to second-degree felonies, graded the same as involuntary manslaughter of a child or statutory sexual assault.

This kind of overly punitive response—for violating restrictions on the use or sale of fireworks, no less—undermines judicial discretion, widens Pennsylvania’s carceral net, and, at best, offers hollow promises of deterrence.

Sponsors

Representative Frank Farry

Status

Passed House

Session

2021 - 2022

Bill number

Position

Oppose