LANSING — State Rep. John Chirkun (D-Roseville) introduced legislation today to give local officials more say on when residents can use fireworks. Michigan’s 2011 fireworks law allows residents to buy bigger fireworks and shoot them off with almost no local regulations. Since then, many Michiganders, including many veterans who struggle with PTSD and are particularly bothered by fireworks, have complained about the noise, danger and lack of enforcement of the restrictions that do exist in the law.
“I regularly get complaints on holiday weekends about the fireworks people are shooting off in their neighborhoods, and if we can’t repeal the law, then it’s time that we do something to make it work better for all our citizens,” said Chirkun. “People who enjoy a fireworks show should be able to see one, but we can’t have fireworks going off into the wee hours of the morning because that isn’t fair to the people who want peace and quiet and a good night’s sleep.”
Chirkun’s legislation would expand the days that locals can prohibit the use of consumer-grade fireworks so that the only days that locals have to allow the use of fireworks are the day before, the day of, and the day after New Year’s Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day. Current law states that locals cannot prohibit fireworks on the day before, the day of, or the day after any national holiday — for a total of 30 days. Chirkun’s bill would only allow fireworks on a total of nine days. His bill would also increase the fines for breaking a local ordinance to no more than $1,000 and allow local units of government to enforce local noise ordinances. This legislation would also allow locals to regulate the use of fireworks on the specified days between the hours of 11 p.m. and 10 a.m., except for New Year’s Day, when fireworks can only be regulated between the hours of 1 a.m. and 8 a.m.
“We always need to be respectful of our neighbors. Everyone has the right to enjoy time with family and rest during holiday weekends, so it is important that we listen to these concerns and update the laws accordingly,” said state Rep. Patrick Green (D-Warren), a co-sponsor of Chirkun’s bill. “In the absence of a repeal, our best course of action is to give local officials more control of when fireworks can be used.”
Chirkun said that he also wants to address the tent sales of fireworks, which aren’t necessarily an issue in rural areas, but are an issue in more concentrated communities such as Roseville and Warren. Many consider tent sales to be an eyesore in metropolitan communities.
“My bill allows for communities in heavily populated areas, like Macomb County, to regulate or prohibit the sale of fireworks from tents,” said Chirkun. “I believe that my bill strikes the right balance between the wants of fireworks enthusiasts and those who prefer quieter celebrations. I look forward to winning support from my colleagues so everyone can have more enjoyable holidays.”