March 4, 2007
The Honorable Jacinta Kaipat
Chair, Judiciary and Governmental Operations
15th NMI Legislature, House
Saipan, MP 96950
Re: HB 15-201 TO ESTABLISH A FIREWORKS CONTROL ACT OF 2007; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
Dear Representative Kaipat:
The proposed bill is long overdue. There are other negative effects to be considered:
• Old folks and those with heart problems become frightened and jittery when they are caught off-guard by these explosions; this is even worse at night when people are asleep.
• Air becomes polluted during fireworks—one can smell the odor of sulfur especially on New Year, Christmas Eve and July 4th.
• These explosions are a public nuisance invading our privacy at home at all hours – day or night. In my neighborhood, fireworks have gone on past midnight. Disruption while reading, talking or watching television is difficult to tolerate.
• There are no benefits to be realized from these activities other than the businesses selling fireworks. Is the tax derived from fireworks worth the consequences?
The increasing disregard for one’s neighbor, the sick, the elderly and very young children is a disturbing element in our community today. This lack of respect or consideration for others is also evident in activities such as burning of hazardous materials in the villages particularly in the evenings, discarding trash at abandoned lots or by the roadside at night, haphazard roadside vendor activities that block traffic when customers congregate around their stalls or vehicles parked at the edge of the road.
While many of our problems border on issues of enforcement, the fact that they are not being enforced as diligently as needed has created an impression that they are acceptable. A suggestion is to inform the public who should be contacted for certain complaints and for DPS to provide this information to callers if DPS is not authorized to handle the matter even on weekends. At times we find ourselves referred to several agencies only to end up with the original agency.
Considering traditions and occasions that normally include fireworks such as July 4th, New Year’s Eve, etc., perhaps you might set parameters for their allowance so long as they do not take place in neighborhoods, last no longer than one day and no later than midnight, and are handled by qualified individuals within designated areas. This brings the issue of their sale to the public for these occasions only. A suggestion would be that they be heavily taxed and sold during limited periods to licensed individuals only.
Ignoring social ills now will invite bigger problems in the future. You are to be commended for trying to put a stop to this nuisance and hazard to our physical and mental health as well as to our environment. It is unfortunate that the Russian tourist has this negative message to bring home. It is even more unfortunate that a bill such as yours was not passed much earlier as it could have prevented the accidents mentioned in the bill and our lives would have been much more peaceful. I hope that that the Legislature will give this bill its due consideration and pass it without delay.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity and for your effort to address this matter.
[Name Withheld by Rep. Kaipat]