LANSING – State Representative Henry Yanez (D-Sterling Heights) has introduced a package of bills to repeal Michigan’s 2011 fireworks law that allows residents to buy bigger fireworks and shoot them off with almost no local regulations. Yanez’s bills, House Bills 4725 and 4726, would return Michigan to the safer, more peaceful fireworks restrictions that existed before 2011.
“As a former firefighter, I am acutely aware of the danger mishandled and misused fireworks pose,” said Yanez. “Certain fireworks, whether used properly or improperly, can cause serious property and environmental damage, and the injuries can be disfiguring and life-threatening. There’s just no good reason to have rockets, sky lanterns and other fireworks allowed under the 2011 law going off in our neighborhoods.”
The Yanez legislation would only allow municipalities to grant fireworks permits for outdoor pest control or agricultural purposes; for public display by municipalities, fair associations, amusement parks; or other eligible groups of individuals. It would also prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from being granted a fireworks permit. The legislation still allows the sale, possession or transfer of certain toy pistols, paper caps, sparklers and toy snakes as well as other small products.
“We all know how the loud noise from fireworks affects some children and pets, but something many of us may not realize is the fear or panic they can also cause veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” said Yanez. “In fact, 12 state parks this year are going fireworks-free over the Fourth of July specifically so that veterans and their families can enjoy the holiday without the loud noise and stress fireworks can cause. We’ve tried allowing residents to buy and shoot large fireworks. But the complaints from neighbors and the damage they’ve caused, or nearly caused, in many communities have proved the 2011 law to be a bad idea. It’s time we fixed our fireworks problem and repeal the 2011 law.”
The 12 state parks are banning large fireworks, but will still allow small novelty fireworks like sparklers to be used. Yanez was also the sponsor last session of House Bill 5810 to ban the use and sale of sky lanterns. Yanez introduced that bill after he was contacted by two residents who had the lanterns land on their lawn and on a neighbor’s roof. Luckily, people were home when the incidents happened and were able to prevent any damage to the house or lawn from the lantern.
“Now that so many people are speaking out against fireworks, including our veterans, I hope the legislature will recognize the problems our fireworks law causes and will help me repeal our fireworks law this year,” said Yanez.