- Associated Press - Sunday, January 4, 2015

PITTSVILLE, Wis. (AP) - The Pittsville fire chief is renewing his push for state restrictions on novelty lighters, six years after a group of second-graders asked him to help get the law passed.

Fire Chief Jerry Minor has contacted legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, trying to get the law passed, Daily Tribune Media reported (http://wrtnews.co/1AtjorS ). State officials held a public hearing on restricting the lighters last year, but the legislative session ended before it came up for a vote.

A couple of weeks before Christmas, Minor again started sending out requests for help.

“I basically said, ‘Hey, I’m back, and I need your support on both sides of the aisle,’” Minor said. “I told them, ‘This is not going away.’”

In 2009, Londa Kuehn’s class at Pittsville Elementary School read a story about novelty lighters, which come in shapes that would appeal to children and often don’t have child-security devices to stop them from being accidentally lit. The children later approached Minor about their idea for a law.

Rep. Scott Krug, a Republican from Rome, co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Julie Lassa, a Democrat from Stevens Point. Krug said the bill has had some hang-ups in the state Assembly, but that it gets closer to passing each session.

“We’re still working on it and can get it done this time, I’m sure,” Krug said.

After the children approached Minor about a law, he began collecting the novelty lighters when he saw them in stores. His collection now includes a lighter shaped like a guitar, one shaped like a fishing pole and one shaped like a fire extinguisher. He said that he’s recently seen a trend toward more lighters shaped like guns.

Marshfield Deputy Fire Chief Scott Owen also thinks the proposed law is a good idea.

“Whether it’s a big, funny looking match or some type of character made into a lighter, they have the attention of kids,” Owen said.

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Information from: Daily Tribune Media, http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com

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