Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Dud That Was the Fireworks Bill

So why didn't the Legislature pass a bill to give state and local governments more power to restrict fireworks during the time of drought -- even though a big chunk of the state's forests were on fire last summer?

Sen. Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque, who sponsored the bill, as well as Gov. Susana Martinez, who supported it, say it was a triumph of "special interests" over public safety.

Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, whose committee killed the bill, and fireworks lobbyist Luke Otero say the problem was with the bill itself -- and not campaign contributions from a big fireworks distributor. Both noted that fireworks didn't cause any of the major fires last year and that protests of small fireworks businesses were effective in arguing the bill would have severely hurt them.

My autopsy on the bill can be found in today's New Mexican.