By JOEL STASHENKO
Associated Press Writer
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The chances of a fire in New York like the
one that killed 100 people at a Rhode Island nightclub in February
are diminished under a new law, Gov. George Pataki said Thursday.
The bill requires the owner or lessee of an entertainment venue
to get a permit from local government officials when indoor
pyrotechnics are to be used. It also requires the filing of a
written plan outlining details about the fireworks and their use,
including the qualifications and experience of the pyrotechnics
operator.
The measure requires sets, scenery and performers' clothing to
be fire resistant in venues where indoor fireworks are planned and
mandates that at least two fire extinguishers be at hand.
The fire at the West Warwick, R.I., nightclub, The Station,
which also injured more than 200 people, was sparked by the
pyrotechnics used by the rock band Great White.
The New York statute makes the unpermitted use of pyrotechnics
that recklessly causes deaths or serious injuries a felony
punishable by up to seven years in prison.
The new statute takes effect Nov. 1 outside New York City. The
city's fire codes will continue to govern the use of indoor
pyrotechnics within the five boroughs.

In other measures addressed by the governor:
-Pataki signed into law a measure lowering the blood alcohol
level for operating a snowmobile while intoxicated to 0.08 percent.
The measure mirrors the state's action over the summer to lower the
blood alcohol limit for drivers of automobiles from 0.10 percent to
0.08 percent for purposes of driving while intoxicated charges.
-The governor said a measure he signed will allow New York entry
into an Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision along
with 47 other states. The new multistate compact will allow members
to better track offenders on probation or parole when they
relocate.
-Pataki vetoed a bill that would have loosened up the
requirement that New York City Fire Department dispatchers live in
the city. The measure would have extended to dispatchers the same
exceptions enjoyed by firefighters in the department - that they be
allowed to live in counties contiguous to, or no more than 15 miles
from, the city.
The governor said the Bloomberg administration urged him to veto
the bill. Pataki said one argument for approving the measure - that
a department is having trouble finding qualified employees within
city limits - does not exist in this case and that the city has
comfortably filled all 141 of its fire dispatcher slots.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)