Fraser passes fireworks ordinance

Lawmaker convenes commission to review state law

By: Cortney Casey, Nico Rubello | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published August 28, 2012


FRASER — Fraser City Council members passed an ordinance earlier this month to account for the state’s Fireworks Safety Act.

Fraser Public Safety Lt. Dan Kolke said the new ordinance, passed Aug. 9, allows city police officers to more easily enforce the state statute. By allowing police to enforce under the city ordinance, they can ticket potential violators and prosecute them without having to go through the county prosecutor’s office. Fraser gets to keep any fines assessed.

“It saves time, and it gets the city more money,” Kolke said.

Michigan’s Fireworks Safety Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, legalized consumer-grade fireworks, adding aerial spinners, Roman candles, bottle rockets and more to already permissible low-intensity and novelty items, such as fountains and sparklers.

As die-hards often drove to surrounding states to stock up on such products, supporters of amending regulations here argued that Michigan should get a piece of the pie. The law shifted much of the vendor and licensing oversight to the state and forbade cities from banning consumer fireworks usage on 10 national holidays and the day before and after each.

In some communities, the changes triggered seemingly endless amateur fireworks displays from late May through early July, spurring elation and exasperation among residents, depending on their viewpoints.

The day before Fraser’s ordinance passed, state Rep. Harold Haugh, D-Roseville, and state Rep. Hugh Crawford, R-Novi, announced plans to co-chair a bipartisan House workgroup assessing the law’s impact.

Haugh originally sponsored the bill that became the Fireworks Safety Act.

The group — which also includes Reps. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, and David Rutledge, D-Ypsilanti — will review the act’s impact based on feedback from municipalities, fellow legislators, the Michigan Municipal League, the state fire marshal, etc., and determine “whether we need to do tweaking on the bill — which, obviously, we do,” Haugh said.

After talking to more than 50 elected officials, Haugh said, it was clear that “local municipalities were very confused on what they could or couldn’t do, the days on which fireworks could be utilized and how do we regulate consumer common sense.”

He maintains that the Fireworks Safety Act was “never intended to let fireworks go off 365 days a year,” nor interfere with municipalities’ ability to enforce their own noise, nuisance and disturbing the peace ordinances.

“Everything’s on the table,” he said.

On July 12, the Fraser City Council unanimously voted to ask the state Legislature to entirely repeal the law. City Council members lamented the size of some of the neighborhood displays, and council members said they hoped things would go back to the way they were last year.

Haugh reportedly received similar resolutions calling for repeal from Sterling Heights, St. Clair Shores and Warren.