This bill has been amended

Bill S7448-2009

Relates to the definition of fireworks

Relates to exempting qualified religious organizations from fees associated with permits required to display fireworks.



  • May 25, 2010: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • May 24, 2010: 1ST REPORT CAL.618
  • Apr 12, 2010: REFERRED TO CODES


VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Codes - May 24, 2010
Ayes (16): Schneiderman, Breslin, Duane, Parker, Huntley, Sampson, Klein, Perkins, Squadron, Volker, Saland, DeFrancisco, Bonacic, Golden, Lanza, Flanagan



TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the penal law, in relation to the definition of fireworks

PURPOSE : To exempt sparklers that are used in a religious ceremony or event that is conducted pursuant to Kabbalistic law from the definition of fireworks.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : Amends §270.00 of the penal law to exempt sparklers that are used in connection with a religious ceremony or event that is conducted pursuant to Kabbalistic law and is supervised by a rabbi or religious coordinator who is at least 21 years of age from the definition of fireworks.

JUSTIFICATION : Kabbalistic law is common to all of the myriad sects of the Jewish religion. Pursuant to this law, a candle is regarded as a heavenly spirit that should not be extinguished by human means. According to some religious scholars, the blowing out of a candle is comparable to extinguishing life itself. At the very least, the blowing out of a candle is considered to be a bad omen.

As a result, it is not uncommon to substitute sparklers for candles in such ceremonies as weddings and bar mitzvahs. These sparklers are designed to self-extinguish (approximately one minute), which obviates the necessity of blowing them out. They are also safer than candles because they produce a "cold" flame that is less likely to cause a fire.

However, the use of sparklers - even for religious purposes - is prohibited under section 270.00 of the Penal Law. As a result, persons who conduct religious ceremonies or events that employ the use of sparklers are subject to criminal prosecution and places of business (such as catering halls) that host these events risk losing state and local licenses and face other penalties if sparklers are used on their premises.

For this reason, this bill seeks to legalize the use of sparklers that are used in religious ceremonies and events that are conducted pursuant to Kabbalistic Law. Since it is the unsupervised use of sparklers by children that gave rise to the inclusion of sparklers within the definition of fireworks, an additional safeguard is added by requiring the ceremony or event to be supervised by a rabbi or religious coordinator that is at least 21 years of age.

FISCAL IMPACT : None to the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE : Immediately.


STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7448 IN SENATE April 12, 2010 ___________
Introduced by Sen. C. JOHNSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to the definition of fire- works THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 270.00 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 180 of the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows: 1. Definition of "fireworks" and "dangerous fireworks". The term "fireworks," as used in this section, is defined and declared to be and to include any blank cartridge, blank cartridge pistol, or toy cannon in which explosives are used, firecrackers, sparklers or other combustible or explosive of like construction, or any preparation containing any explosive or inflammable compound or any tablets or other device common- ly used and sold as fireworks containing nitrates, chlorates, oxalates, sulphides of lead, barium, antimony, arsenic, mercury, nitroglycerine, phosphorus or any compound containing any of the same or other explosives, or any substance or combination of substances, or article prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or an audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration or detonation, or other device containing any explosive substance and the term "dangerous fireworks" means any fireworks capable of causing serious physical injury and which are: firecrackers containing more than fifty milligrams of any explosive substance, torpedoes, skyrockets and rockets including all devices which employ any combustible or explosive substance and which rise in the air during discharge, Roman candles, bombs, sparklers more than ten inches in length or one-fourth of one inch in diameter, or chasers including all devices which dart or travel about the surface of the ground during discharge. "Fireworks" and "dangerous fireworks" shall not be deemed to include (1) flares of the type used by railroads or any warning lights commonly known as red flares, or marine distress signals of a type approved by the United States coast guard or (2) toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns or other devices in which paper caps containing twenty-five
hundredths grains or less of explosive compound are used, providing they are so constructed that the hand cannot come in contact with the cap when in place for use, and toy pistol paper caps which contain less than twenty-hundredths grains of explosive mixture, the sale and use of which shall be permitted at all times, [or] (3) bank security devices which contain not more than fifty grams of any compound or substance or any combination thereof, together with an igniter not exceeding 0.2 gram, capable of producing a lachrymating and/or visible or audible effect, where such device is stored or used only by banks, national banking associations, trust companies, savings banks, savings and loan associ- ations, industrial banks, or credit unions, or by any manufacturer, wholesaler, dealer, jobber or common carrier for such devices and where the total storage on any one premises does not exceed one hundred devices, (4) SPARKLERS THAT ARE USED IN CONNECTION WITH RELIGIOUS CERE- MONY OR EVENT THAT IS CONDUCTED PURSUANT TO KABBALISTIC LAW AND IS SUPERVISED BY A RABBI OR RELIGIOUS COORDINATOR THAT IS AT LEAST TWENTY- ONE YEARS OF AGE. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.


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