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Legislature launches Lilly’s fireworks plan to the governor

• Dec 22, 2018 at 4:00 PM

LANSING — The Michigan House has provided final legislative approval to give local communities more control over the sale, use and safety of consumer-grade fireworks by passing a bipartisan plan authored by Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Township, on Friday.

Lilly says his plan helps address the growing problems plaguing communities since the legalization of fireworks in 2011. House Bill 5939 tightens the requirements for selling consumer-grade fireworks and for operating locations where they are sold, while House Bill 5940 revises the time during which local governments may regulate the use of consumer fireworks and increases the fine for those violating the time changes.

“These updates are a great step toward restoring more local control over fireworks use,” Lilly said. “Discourteous discharging of fireworks during late hours of the night takes a toll on seniors, pets and their owners, and people suffering from PTSD. Local governments know what’s best for their communities and local authorities struggled to enforce practical standards before this reform.”

Under the plan, local officials could restrict the use of consumer-grade fireworks except the following days after 11 a.m.: Dec. 31, the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial weekend, June 29 to July 4, July 5 if the date falls on a Friday or Saturday, and the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend.

House Bill 5941 allows the governor, local fire marshals and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to prohibit the use of consumer fireworks if weather conditions make the activity dangerous to people and property. Lilly’s plan is similar to local or regional burn bans during high winds or drought.

“The safety of our kids and the entire community will always be a top priority of mine,” Lilly said. “Given Michigan’s unpredictable weather, and in instances of high winds or a prolonged drought, fireworks can pose a greater risk to the safety of Michiganders and their property. If fire bans can be implemented to prevent widespread fires, then I think it’s reasonable to have communities apply those same safety rules to fireworks.”

Lilly said the legislation is a response to concerns of constituents and local elected officials, adding a lot of bipartisan compromise went into the package.

“Many residents and local law authorities have contacted me regarding the use of fireworks and what could be done to reduce the negative impacts of them in their neighborhoods,” he said. “I’m pleased that after a lot of bipartisan compromise, we are one step closer to providing local governments and Michiganders a much-needed solution involving this serious issue.”

The bills now head to the governor for further consideration.

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