Bid to legalize fireworks in Massachusetts may be a dud
The state Attorney General’s office today declined to certify a petition to put legal fireworks on the ballot in 2016; petitioner could appeal the decision.
A bid to legalize fireworks in Massachusetts may be a dud.
Attorney General Maura Healey said Wednesday morning that she has declined to certify the ballot initiative that could have added a question on legalizing fireworks on the 2016 ballot. The petition was filed by Richard Bastien, a teacher and former state representative in Gardner.
The issue, Healey's office said, was in Bastien’s request to not only legalize fireworks, but repealregulation on explosives that aren’t fireworks.
The language of the initiative would repeal a section of Massachusetts law that “restricts the manufacture, storage, sale or transfer of all explosive material” and keeps records of where explosives are stored secret, according to a letter released on Wednesday.
Healey's office decided the petition does not meet the state’s requirements on “subjects that are not related or mutually dependent.”
“Reasonable voters may wish to legalize the sale of consumer fireworks without also repealing safety provisions for other explosives,” read the letter, signed by Juliana deHaan Rice, deputy chief of the office’s government bureau.
The AG’s office typically discusses ballot initiatives with petitioners before rulings are announced. It was not immediately clear whether Bastien worked with Healey’s office, or if he intends to repeal regulations on non-firework explosives or appeal the decision with the Supreme Judicial Court. He did not immediately return requests for comment.
The section of law the petition would have repealed is the same section that requires local approval for manufacturing fireworks.
Rulings from attorney generals do not represent opinions on policy matters, Healey’s office said in a statement.
Her office certified 22 petitionstoday. In addition to the one on fireworks, nine were not certified. Of those, seven were deemed “inconsistent with certain constitutional rights” — six of them from one petitioner seeking changes to a political spending law — and one was an effort to prevent public officials from working with organizations that deny the Holocaust. One related to government accountability and one related to expanded gaming were each deemed “not in proper form.”
All other high-profile ballot initiatives did earn certification, including four petitions from two competing groups pushing to legalize marijuana.