Law to legalize fireworks is shot down

An ordinance that would have legalized fireworks in St. Charles Parish was overwhelmingly shot down by council members on Monday.

In fact, Councilman Paul Hogan, who introduced the ordinance, was the only council member to vote for it.

Fireworks have been banned in the parish since 1992, but Hogan’s ordinance would have allowed their sale  while restricting the number of days they could be shot to six.

Hogan also wanted to outlaw all rockets to reduce fire risks.

Though council members voted against the ordinance, several said they were conflicted when making the decision.

Councilwoman Wendy Benedetto said that her father is a licensed fireworks seller but that the people in her district urged her to vote against Hogan’s ordinance.

Councilman Marcus Lambert said that he didn’t believe the government should be able to tell people whether or not they could shoot fireworks, but that he got several e-mails from residents who wanted the ban to remain in place.

Only one person who contacted him wanted fireworks legalized, Lambert said.

Lambert added that despite what several residents may believe, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office does enforce the ban.

“For every call and complaint that’s made, the Sheriff’s Office comes out,” he said. “I know people who have received citations close to me who shot fireworks.”

Councilwoman Carolyn Schexnaydre said that voting against Hogan’s ordinance was one of the hardest decisions she has had to make. She said that she got an e-mail from a soldier in Afghanistan who lives in Luling urging her to legalize fireworks. However, she said she also got a call from another soldier that said the noise fireworks create scares him.

“(The soldier in Afghanistan) was the only person who wanted it,” Schexnaydre said.

One of the main reasons Hogan wanted to allow the sale of fireworks is because he felt the parish was missing out on the much-needed revenue that taxing their sale would generate.

Parish President St. Pierre said that the money the parish would receive from allowing fireworks isn’t as much as believed. He said most of the sellers deal in cash and don’t report everything they make.


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