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Michigan adopts new fireworks legislation

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 8, 2019

 Chirkun

Chirkun

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MICHIGAN — On Dec. 29, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder approved a package of bills aimed at giving more local communities more control to regulate the use and sale of fireworks. The package included House Bill 5940, which was written by state Rep. John Chirkun, D-Roseville.

Along with HB 5940, the package included HB 5939 and HB 5941. The three-bill package makes what Chirkun called “much-needed changes” to Michigan’s Fireworks Safety Act. 

“This law will allow the communities of Warren, Roseville and other local units of government across the state to better regulate fireworks by limiting the dates and times they can be used, and increases the penalty for those who violate a local ordinance,” Chirkun said in a press release. “These bills make some much-needed changes in an effort to address some of the concerns I have heard from my constituents during my time in the House. This law provides for increased local control, better awareness of what the law is and fair limitations on the use and sale of fireworks.”

Under the bill package, local officials could restrict the use of consumer-grade fireworks from the currently allowed 30 days a year to about 12 days a year, although several other changes to fireworks-related laws were also included.

House Bill 5939 enacted a variety of changes to Michigan’s fireworks laws. The changes include increasing the fees an applicant would have to pay to obtain a certificate to sell consumer fireworks; those selling consumer fireworks without a certificate would be liable for a civil fine instead of a misdemeanor; requiring a certificate applicant to submit a bond to secure the collection of estimated sales tax and fireworks safety fees; and giving the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs more autonomy when processing certificate applications and violations.

Under House Bill 5939, retailers also are required to provide purchasers a notice of when fireworks may be used.

House Bill 5940 allows a municipality with a population of more than 100,000, or any local government in a county with a population of more than 750,000, to regulate the number of temporary structures from which fireworks are sold and the distance between them in that community.

House Bill 5941 grants more authority to local fire departments to enforce no-burning restrictions in regard to environmental concerns and gives the governor, the Department of Natural Resources or the state fire marshal the power to enforce statewide no-burning restrictions. It also said local departments must notify residents within 24 hours if such bans have been lifted.

Many local municipalities will be discussing what these changes could mean for their communities. Both Roseville and Eastpointe will be conducting discussions on the topic at upcoming city council meetings.

“We will be discussing the statutory amendments relating to fireworks at our City Council meeting on Jan. 8,” said Roseville City Manager Scott Adkins. “We will be looking for direction from the council in regard to such amendments, and I would expect we will be making some changes to our fireworks laws in the near future.”

“I know, in my discussions with council, there has never been any interest in changing fireworks ordinances in Eastpointe,” said Eastpointe City Manager Joseph Sobota. “We still need to review the new legislation, though, and examine what our options are.”

Chirkun said that as important as fireworks are to certain celebrations, he wants to ensure they are used properly and are not impeding anyone’s quality of life.

“Although fireworks are part of many different celebrations and traditions, we need rules in place to ensure their use is not negatively affecting other people’s quality of life,” Chirkun said in the press release. “I would like to thank my colleague, Rep. Jim Lilly, for working with me on this package, and Gov. Snyder for signing this into law.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.

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