Retailers in Nebraska could continue selling novelty lighters under a compromise measure advanced in the Legislature on Thursday.
Lawmakers gave first-round approval to a new bill that would only restrict the sale of novelty lighters without child-proof safety features. The measure advanced on a 33-5 vote.
The original proposal would have banned the sale of novelty lighters, some of which resemble animals, tractors or other items that could be mistaken as toys that firefighting groups view as a safety threat for young children. Opponents argued that the novelty lighters pose no greater threat than regular lighters or candles. Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln said parents should take responsibility for keeping the lighters away from children.
The bill requires two more votes before it goes to Gov. Dave Heineman.
Fifteen states have passed similar laws. Neighboring Iowa has no legislation introduced, but South Dakota and Colorado have pending bills.