A bill to legalize the limited sale and use of fireworks in Iowa has easily cleared a senate committee.

Fireworks would be legal in June and just after the 4th of July as well as in early December through the beginning of January.

Republican Senator Jake Chapman of Adel says many Iowans want to celebrate New Years and Independence Day with fireworks. “It’s about freedom,” Chapman says. “Look, we’re one of just a handful of states that prohibit the use of consumer-grade fireworks.”

The bill easily cleared the Senate State Government Committee Wednesday afternoon on an 11-to-4 vote. Senator David Johnson of Ocheyedan, an independent, attended the committee meeting and argued the bill would give Iowans undesirable new freedoms.

“Freedom to blow their fingers off, freedom to take an eye out, to harm a kid, to overload our ERs,” Johnson said.

The bill would let Iowa cities and counties “opt out” and establish ordinances banning fireworks during the two holiday periods. The measure includes new fees for retailers that want to sell fireworks, so the bill has to clear another senate committee that reviews tax policy before the proposal is eligible for debate in the full senate.

Nearly all fireworks are illegal to sell and set off today in Iowa. There have been several attempts to legalize fireworks in Iowa over the past few years, but they’ve all fallen short.