Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Arkansas’ Novelty Lighter Ban goes to Senate for Vote on Thursday

On Wednesday, February 11th, at the State Capitol in Little Rock, Senate Bill 154 (An ACT to Protect the Health and Safety of Arkansas’s Children; and to Prohibit Sales and Distribution of Novelty Lighters) passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 154 was then returned by the Committee to the Senate, with the recommendation that it Do Pass.

Firesafetyeducator.com interviewed Senator Sharon Trusty, Lt. Mark Shoemaker (NLR Fire Department), Jimmy Parks (Arkansas Children’s Hospital) and others after the Senate Judiciary Committee. The video is below:

Below you will find an article written by Doug Thompson of the Morning News on February 11th:

Bill To Ban Novelty Lighters Advances
By Doug Thompson


LITTLE ROCK -- A bill to ban novelty cigarette lighters that resemble toys was recommended by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

"This little frog's eyes blink, it makes a 'ribbit' sound and sets your house on fire," Attorney General Dustin McDaniel told the committee while testifying for Senate Bill 154 by Sen. Sharon Trusty, R-Russellville. Trusty, McDaniel and Rep. George Overbey, D-Lamar, were all working on legislation to prohibit lighters shaped like small animals, cars, airplanes and other toylike appearances. They discovered each other's efforts early in the session and agreed to back one bill, Senate Bill 154. All three appeared before the committee Wednesday.

The chief concern of the bill's supporters is that children playing with what appears to be a toy could unintentionally start fires, the committee was told.

The bill defines a novelty lighter as a lighter with "entertaining audio or visual features that depict or resemble in physical form or function articles commonly recognized as appealing to or intended for use by children 10 years of age or younger, including without limitation, lighters that depict or resemble cartoon characters, toys, guns, watches, musical instruments, vehicles, toy animals, food or beverages, or that play musical notes or have flashing lights, or other entertaining features."

McDaniel, Trusty and Overbey were supported at the meeting by representatives from 23fire departments from around the state who were ready to testify in favor of the bill.

No one spoke against Senate Bill 154, which now goes to the Senate.


SB 154 is on the calendar for Thursday, February 19 at 11:00 (time is subject to change).

To date, Arkansas has led the way with more local ordinances passed than any other state and is one of 19 other states considering bans.

For more information about the novelty lighter initiative or for other questions that you may have, please email me at daynark@gmail.com. You may also contact Lt. Mark Shoemaker at 501-812-5942 or email him mshoemaker@northlittlerock.ar.gov

Other important links:

SB 154: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2009/R/Bills/SB154.pdf

SB 154 Status: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2009/R/Pages/BillStatusHistory.aspx?measureno=SB154

No Novelty Lighters Website

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