LANSING, Mich. — State Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) and State Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt) introduced House Bills 5964-5968 that would collectively repeal the MI Fireworks Safety Act of 2011 and establish safer guidelines for firework use in Michigan. Communities across the state are speaking out against the unexpected consequences and dangers resulting from the 2011 changes that loosened regulations on private citizens’ use of fireworks. Anthony’s package would also establish safer guidelines and seeks to minimize the amount of firework-related injuries, damages and disturbances.
Lansing residents, in particular, have voiced strong opposition to the increased use of fireworks over the last several years. Although Lansing City Ordinance only allows fireworks between certain times, Anthony has heard from constituents that illegal usage is rampant within the city. “I have heard these complaints consistently and they’ve only been heating up over our summer holidays,” said Anthony. “That said, Lansing is not unique in this respect. I have had conversations with many of my colleagues about similar frustrations in their own communities across the state. It’s clear our residents are looking to us to address this ongoing concern.” Residents argue local authorities are granted little power to enforce the current law, as residents are required to provide law enforcement with the exact address where the firework was launched. Anthony has heard a wide range of complaints from residents, ranging from sleep disruption for kids and workers, to inducing stress and anxiety for pets. For veterans, however, firework explosions prove to be even more difficult to ignore. Mimicking the sound of gunfire or bomb explosion, fireworks can trigger severe episodes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, bringing back vivid and intense memories of past traumas.
The MI Fireworks Safety Act was passed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2011. In an effort to increase state revenue, the bill was passed to encourage residents to buy consumer fireworks in Michigan rather than in neighboring states. Although this legislation seemed fiscally sensible at the time, this legislation increased access to powerful, consumer-grade explosives such as firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles.
Consequently, firework-related injuries and property damages have spiked over the past 9 years after these new and intensified explosives became a popular, yet potentially fatal, item on the market. “Under the current law, Michiganders are allowed to purchase and use powerful consumer-grade explosives – many of which could cause serious injury and irreparable damage,” explained Hope. “Public officials have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for community members and their families. This legislative package will put the power of fireworks regulation back in the hands of local government and fire safety officials, where it belongs.”