Given the abundance of illegal fireworks and explosives that infiltrate Hawaiʻi each year, Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Donovan Dela Cruz (D – Senate District 17, Portion of Mililani, Mililani Mauka, portion of Waipi‘o Acres, Launani Valley, Wahiawā, Whitmore Village) introduced legislation to address this pervasive problem. Senate Bill 821 passed the Legislature, with only one legislator voting no for the final floor vote across both chambers.
Senate Bill 821 establishes the Illegal Fireworks Task Force within the Department of Law Enforcement to stop the importation of illegal fireworks and explosives into the state, promote compliance with the fireworks control laws, and ensure the safety and security of facilities and institutions in the state against the discharge of illegal fireworks and explosives.
“This task force will help people with pets, people with PTSD, and especially our kūpuna. Not to mention, it will reduce bodily harm inflicted on people setting off pyrotechnics,” said Senator Dela Cruz. “We look forward to working with the Department of Law Enforcement to help address this pervasive problem.”
“The Department of Law Enforcement is working with its state, local and federal partners to develop an operational strategy to interdict the flow of illegal fireworks and explosives,” said Jordan Lowe, director of the Department of Law Enforcement. “The task force will develop criminal cases against those individuals and organizations responsible for the importation and distribution of illegal fireworks and explosives.”
The bill now heads to Governor Green for his consideration and approval. If approved, $1.25 million would be allocated for the Illegal Fireworks Task Force.