More than 650 dealers are now licensed to sell fireworks in Iowa, but about a third of the required inspections were not completed before selling began.
Barbara Edmondson, an attorney for the Iowa Department of Public Safety, says it was a challenge getting the licensing program up and running once the governor signed the bill May 9.
“There was a very short window for selling,” Edmondson says. “We wanted to get licenses issued to the extent we could and to ensure that there was a maximum opportunity for people to be successful with this.”
The new law made fireworks sales legal in Iowa on June 1. The State Fire Marshal’s Office spent more than $110,000 reviewing and inspecting the sites where fireworks have been sold. However, state officials say there wasn’t enough time or money to finish the job, so some provisional licenses for fireworks sales were issued.
Retailers are charging the state sales tax on the commercial-grade fireworks that are now legal to sell in Iowa. License fees have brought in nearly a quarter of a million dollars in state revenue.
Fireworks sales are to end this Saturday, July 8. Another period for sales and use of fireworks — will open in December and last through early January, but fireworks may only be sold from permanent locations. Tent sales were allowed during the June 1-July 8 timeframe.
(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell)