A fire code bill banning Chinese or sky lanterns from being flown during hazardous conditions moved forward in the Senate committee after discussion Friday.
HB217 clarifies language in the existing state fire code and also adds updates to the international code that is updated every three years based on Utah’s specific needs.
Bill sponsor Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, said a new change to the bill would allow local jurisdictions to prohibit sky lanterns along with fireworks and open campfires if they deem there are hazardous conditions.
Earlier this week, Mike Noel, R-Kanab, asked for an amendment to the bill that would allow rural and unincorporated areas to enact ordinances that are less restrictive than the existing code.
Noel said some of the codes are "not conducive to how we try to live in rural Utah." He gave a scenario where an arena in Kane County was to be built, but because of state fire code, the county would have to reduce the size of the basketball court inside. The amendment did not pass.
Lincoln Shurtz, Utah League of Cities and Towns director of legislative affairs, said Friday at the Senate Business and Labor Committee he was grateful for Dunnigan and others who helped get the bill "back to it’s original form." Having variations to the code statewide, as Noel proposed, was a major concern for local governments. A uniform code was preferred.
Representing the state fire marshal and the fire prevention board, Weber Fire District fire marshal Ted Black said the current bill’s wording is now "more in line with what fire prevention board recommended."
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