This story starts with a pair of San Diego court rulings in favor of environmentalists. The courts said fireworks shows and other special events are subject to the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. That law typically applies to developments - and requires a strict and often-lengthy permitting process to disclose any environmental impacts. But critics cried foul - and Democratic State Senator Juan Vargas proposed legislation that would exempt those special events.
Vargas: "CEQA should be a serious law that you challenge big projects - not for the Fourth of July, not for marches around the park, not for a march for the cure. These are things that CEQA shouldn't deal with. But unfortunately, they are, more and more. And we've got to stop that."
But this week, the bill stalled when Vargas couldn't win support from environmental groups and his fellow Democrats. The court rulings are on hold pending an appeal.