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State Fair Polltakers Split on Legalizing More Fireworks

State Fair Polltakers Split on Legalizing More Fireworks

Informal annual poll shows citizens favor motorcycle helmets, liquor sales on Sunday, and teacher layoffs based on performance evaluations rather than seniority.

Those taking the 2012 nonpartisan House Public Information Services Office State Fair Opinion Poll are almost evenly split on the legalization of firecrackers, bottle rockets and other consumer fireworks.

Of the more than 9,000 people participating in this year's poll, 48% believe such fireworks should be legalized, while 45% are against the idea. More than 7% are undecided or have no opinion.

The poll is an informal, unscientific survey of issues discussed in prior legislative sessions and may be topics of discussion in 2013.

State Fair Polltakers Split on Legalizing More Fireworks

Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill in 2012 to expand legal fireworks in Minnesota to include bottle rockets, firecrackers and other fireworks classified by the American Pyrotechnics Association as consumer fireworks. "Most Minnesotans are responsible enough to ignite and explode those inherently dangerous devices properly and safely. Unfortunately some are not," Dayton wrote in his veto message.

Current Minnesota law allows for the use of party poppers, snappers, toy smoke devices, snakes, glow worms or sparklers, but supporters note that many Minnesotans already cross into neighboring states to spend their money for other consumer fireworks and will continue to do so.

A number of items that are taxable in stores, such as books, movies and music, are not subject to sales tax when downloaded from the Internet. Polltakers are also nearly split on the state collecting sales tax on these items with 47% in favor of the idea and 45% against.

A pair of education issues received support of polltakers.

Nearly 72% believe school districts should be authorized to use performance evaluations in making teacher layoff decisions, rather than basing the cuts on seniority. More than 56% support the idea of all school districts being permitted to start classes before Labor Day.

Two questions received overwhelmingly positive responses from people who took the poll.

Nearly 93% believe that employers should not be allowed to require employees to provide their social media passwords, such as those for Facebook and Twitter, as a condition of employment. Additionally, 85% of those filling out the opinion poll believe Lao-American and Hmong-American veterans who fought with the United States during the Vietnam War should be eligible for burial in the state cemetery near Camp Ripley.

More than half of the polltakers—53%--believe a higher legislative threshold should be established when it comes to getting constitutional amendments on the ballot, such as this year's photo identification and defining marriage questions. Currently, a simple majority in the House and Senate is needed to put a question before state voters.

Polltakers also believe:

• motorcyclists should be required to wear a helmet (70%)

• companies violating environmental laws should be ineligible for state tax breaks or subsidies (67%)

• liquor stores should be permitted to open on Sundays (63%)

• the right to defend oneself should not be expanded so that a person must no longer retreat before using force, including lethal force, against an attacker in a public place (48%)

• each parent in a child custody dispute should not be guaranteed at least 45% of parenting time (45.5%). However, more than 27% had no opinion or were undecided on the issue.

Source: House of Representatives Public Information Services


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