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SALT LAKE CITY — There are still well over 250 days left in 2023 but it's never too early to think about New Year's.
And beginning New Year's Day 2024, Utahns will be able to launch personal fireworks from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed HB378 on Friday, adding an extra day when personal fireworks can be launched in acceptable areas across the state. Fireworks were previously only allowed on New Year's Eve or the day before it if it fell on a Sunday, from 11 a.m. on Dec. 31 to 1 a.m on Jan. 1 — but not any other time on New Year's Day.
A rainy and snowy New Year's Eve this past year influenced the changes.
Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, the bill's sponsor, explained to her colleagues that her family and friends were hoping to launch fireworks that evening but it was called off because of the weather. She called her local police and checked to see if she could light off the fireworks on New Year's Day — when it was clearer outside — because she didn't see it listed in the state code.
"They said 'this is tough because, technically, it's not a day that we have that you can celebrate (with fireworks) but we don't really enforce that because most people assume you can,'" Pierucci explained, prior to a vote on Feb. 16. "So this bill is pretty simple. It is adding 12 hours on Jan. 1 that people can light off fireworks, so they can celebrate on New Year's Day."
Not everyone's on board with the change, though. When Pierucci presented the bill to the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee the following week, Sen. Kathleen Riebe, D-Cottonwood Heights, said both she and the majority of her district oppose fireworks for a litany of reasons.
"They're bad for the environment and also I have a neighbor who has (post-traumatic stress disorder)," she said, adding that fire risks and impacts on wildlife are also concerns.
But the bill ultimately passed the House with a 49-17 vote and Senate with a 21-6 vote during the legislative session prior to Cox's signature on Friday.
In addition to New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, Utah code also permits personal fireworks to be launched in approved areas on:
- Two days before Chinese New Year's Eve (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.)
- Chinese New Year's Eve (11 a.m. to 1 a.m. the following day)
- July 2 through July 5 (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 11 a.m. to midnight on Independence Day)
- July 22 through July 25 (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 11 a.m. to midnight on Pioneer Day)