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Flying, noisy fireworks would become legal in bill passed by House

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Bottle rockets, firecrackers and Roman candles would all be legal to buy and use in Minnesota under a bill passed in the Minnesota House Monday.

The bill (called the “Fireworks Freedom Act”) was brought by Rep. Jason Rarick, a Republican from Pine City. It passed the Republican-controlled House 73-56.

The official language (read it here) makes "aerial and audible devices" that use less than a certain amount of explosive chemicals legal to buy and sell in the state.

Right now, explosive and in-the-air fireworks are prohibited.

They could only be sold from June 1 through July 10, but you could light them any time of the year. Only people age 18 or older would be able to buy or use them. And no setting them off on public property.

Cities or townships would have the power to ban or restrict the sales of the fireworks.

It would take effect this June.

Session Daily says advocates argue it's good for the economy, and that these types of fireworks are being used anyway. But opponents (including the state fire marshal and a burn surgeon) said they were concerned about bystander safety.

Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a similar bill in 2012, the Session Daily notes.

Will it become law?

The bill now goes to the DFL-controlled Senate for a full vote, where it's sponsored by Sen. Torry Westrom (a Republican from Elbow Lake.) It's not clear how much support the bill would have there. Right now it's in the Judiciary Committee.

If the Senate passed an identical bill though, the next step would be to Gov. Mark Dayton for a signature (or, potentially, a veto).

If the Senate passes a version that's different in any way from what the House approved, the bill will bounce back to the House for another vote, with the changes included.

Fantasy sports bill also passed

The House also voted in favor of a bill that clearly defines fantasy sports as not a form of gambling or betting, passing the proposal 100-28.

It's got a Republican lead author in the House, and a DFL lead author in the Senate.

There have been concerns in the state (and nationally) about consumer protections for fantasy sports, and whether it's considered a game of skill or a game of luck.

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