LANSING, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) -- Saying he and his wife are fed up with high-powered fireworks in their neighborhood, the only state senator to vote in 2011 against expanding Michigan's range of legal fireworks said today he wants to rescind the law.
"My bill will roll us back to exactly what we had before," when Michiganders could buy only relatively weak fireworks like firecrackers and sparklers, said state Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland.
"You're still going to have people who drive an hour to cross the state line" and buy more powerful fireworks, Anderson said.
"But they shouldn't be available at corner stands and every party store," he said.
State lawmakers expanded the choice after hearing from store owners who lost business to Ohio and other states, and learning that Michigan could reap a bonanza by charging a 12% sales tax — double the usual rate.
Anderson said the economic benefits of the expanded law are outweighed by the risk of fires caused by floating debris from skyrockets, increased demands on local police to respond to complaints and the harm to public health in lost fingers and eyes. At 10:30 p.m. on the Fourth of July, Detroiter Mike Aburouman, 44, died when a skyrocket fired horizontally and exploded on his chest, authorities said.
The revised state law forbids communities from doing anything to infringe on the hours allowed on the 30 days when Michiganders can use the most powerful fireworks — 8 a.m. until midnight on the day of, day before and day after each of 10 federal holidays. Besides summer holidays, the law Gov. Rick Snyder signed in late 2011 allows the powerful fireworks to be used around Thanksgiving, Christmas and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
"And Columbus Day — who needs to be doing this on Columbus Day?" said Denise Hammond, the retired treasurer of West Bloomfield Township.
State Rep. Harold Haugh, D-Roseville, who sponsored the 2011 law, said today that he doesn't like fireworks but the expanded law was good for Michigan's economy.
A recent state report said that sales taxes collected on fireworks in 2012 and 2013 since the law changed, together with fees charged by the state fire marshal to register stores that sell fireworks, totaled about $6.4 million, Haugh said.