GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With many official firework displays canceled because of COVID-19, it's expected more people will be lighting off their own this year. But a new bill aims to give local cities the ability to restrict firework usage.
State lawmakers have introduced Senate Bill no. 964, which would allow municipalities to regulate the ignition, discharge, and use of consumer fireworks. This would not allow cities to restrict use on Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day or New Year's Eve.
"We get a lot of complaints from constituents about private use of fireworks in the streets, in backyards and front yards and driveways," said State Senator Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, who co-sponsored the bill, "the mess they leave behind and the noise they make and the fact that it's so many days that are allowed."
Currently, Michigan law allows commercial firework use on these days starting at 11 a.m.:
- December 31 until 1 a.m. on January 1.
- The Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day, until 11:45 p.m.
- June 29 to July 4, until 11:45 p.m.
- July 5, if it falls on a Friday or Saturday, until 11:45 p.m.
- The Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day until 11:45 p.m.
The proposed bill would allow individual cities to shorten that time frame if it wishes, excluding the holiday itself.
The bill is written to give the authority to municipalities with populations greater than 34,000 per sq. mile.
"It's completely different if you're out in the middle of a rural area," said Brinks, "where you have a lot of space between you and the neighbors. This is particularly for communities where there's a much higher density."
The bill has been referred to committee and supporting lawmakers are requesting hearings.
Brinks said she hears many complaints from constituents about fireworks in neighborhoods, especially from veterans.
"When we have days on end where there are fireworks, it can be problematic for people," said Brinks. "So this would be, I think, a step in the right direction to allow communities to take a little bit more control over that and to help meet those needs. It's really been heartbreaking to see the impact that this can have on Veterans, and it's important for us all to keep that in mind as we celebrate our country's freedom. They are a huge part of why we are free, so it seems appropriate for us to extend that consideration to them."
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