Fireworks bill targets property owners and allows video evidence

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The use of illegal aerial fireworks has sky-rocketed in Hawaii. 

“This bill has come about because people in the community are tired of fireworks that are going off at all hours and all times of the year,” Representative Roy Takumi said. Takumi is chair of the house consumer protection and commerce committee and he drafted the proposal.

His intention was to give people negatively impacted by fireworks a shot at stopping them.

“If and when the police come, the police say ‘we didn’t see it. We didn’t see anyone setting it off,’ even though there’s paper and all that in the driveway. This bill would simply say you can videotape someone and show it to the police and they would use that to make an arrest,” Takumi explained.

KHON: “It’s not just the person who is setting the fireworks, this would hold the property owner responsible?”

“It would hold the property owner, that usually knows what’s going on responsible,” Takumi said.

Trial attorney Marcus Landsberg IV said the proposal raises some red flags.

“This makes no exception for if you’re an owner that’s not there, you’re an owner who rents the place out, if you’re a short term renter or a long-term rental if you live on the mainland,” Landsberg said.

Landsberg said the language in the bill would allow anonymous drone footage to be submitted as evidence.

“What that means is they are encouraging people to use a drone to videotape their neighbor and then say you never have to tell either us in court or tell the police who is the person who took the video. I’m not sure why this would be OK,” Landsberg explained.

The bill is now in the hands of the Senate. 

“There’s a lot of interest in this bill to keep illegal fireworks under control,” Rhoads said.

“Complaints every year about fireworks are going up…all over the island. I represent Palama and Chinatown and there’s a lot of firework from my house that I can see, that I know are illegal fireworks, going off all the time.”

Rhoads said the Senate Public Safety Committee will likely see the bill before it goes to the judiciary committee.

The use of illegal fireworks is a class C felony and if found guilty is punishable with up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. 

To see the full proposal click here.

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