Michigan House votes to cut by more than half days for shooting legal fireworks
Lansing — The Michigan House voted Thursday to change the state’s oft-debated fireworks law by cutting by 60 percent the number of days on which people could shoot off fireworks and setting emergency conditions when fireworks would be banned.
Under the package of three bills, the number of days when a local government would be prohibited from regulating fireworks shrank would shrink from 30 to 12. The legislation also would adjust regulations for fireworks retailers.
"While there's a lot of folks that like to shoot off fireworks, there's a lot of folks that don't like the fireworks to be shot off," said Republican Rep. Jim Lilly of Park Township, the bill's sponsor. "There's a lot of dogs out there that really don't like our fireworks law."
Current legislation bans local governments from regulating fireworks on the day of, before and after a holiday. The proposed bill would narrow those days to the Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day, several days in and around July 4, the Saturday and Sunday preceding Labor Day, and on New Year’ Eve up to 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
That bill was approved Thursday in a 96-13 vote.
The rules, if approved by the Senate, would be in place for next summer.
Many people would like the existing law repealed, but such proposals have failed, Lilly said. Instead, the Republican lawmaker said he tried to work with local governments, constituents and retailers "to thread that needle a little bit differently."
"I think this is a rationalization of the existing rules," Lilly said. "We're expanding the days around the Fourth of July when we know folks typically use fireworks, but we're trying to make the times and days more reasonable."
Retailers would be required to provide a printout of the new schedule of permitted times at point of sale or by posting the notice at the retail location.
People who sell fireworks from a temporary structure, such as a tent, would be required to file a $5,000 bond with the Michigan Department of Treasury to secure the collection of sales tax and safety fees. The bill would allow local communities with at least 100,000 people or a local community in a county with at least 750,000 to regulate temporary fireworks retail structures.
The bill also would create guidelines around when weather conditions would trigger a fireworks ban and how long that ban would last.