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Posted: 07/03/13

New bill could change
state's fireworks laws

Observer Staff Writer
      This Fourth of July marks the second season since Michigan lifted its ban on fireworks, but may be the last one before local fireworks ordinances are amended.
       State law permits the use of certain fireworks on certain days, but local enforcement may regulate the times of usage if a new bill fixes the current fireworks law.
       The Michigan Fireworks Safety Act went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, allowing the sales and use of louder and more powerful fireworks that were formerly illegal in the state.
       Fireworks like bottle rockets, aerials, reloadable shell devices, firecrackers, missile-type rockets and Roman candles were made legal once the law went into effect.
       The law also determines when fireworks can be used, stating they can be fired the day before, during and after 10 national holidays. This, however, sparked complaints about noisy fireworks going off all hours of the day.
       In response, Michigan lawmakers recently approved of legislation that grants local governments the ability to control consumer fireworks usage between midnight and 8 a.m. during the permitted days of use.
       The bill is expected to be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in time for the Fourth of July.
       Washington Township has a fireworks ordinance that follows the current state law, and doesn't allow people to light fireworks between 11 p.m. and 10 a.m. outside of the permitted days.
       Supervisor Dan O'Leary said if the new legislation becomes law, the township would consider amending its ordinance to patch up the time discrepancy.
       "If they allow us to apply our rules that exist on the other 335 days of the year then we will," he said.
       The Village of Romeo Board of Trustees reviewed the new legislation on June 26, but decided no changes were necessary to its ordinance for the time being since it has a noise ordinance and a disturbing the peace law.
       Village President Mike Lee said he didn't think it was an issue so long as people were considerate.
       "As long as people are minding their neighbors and not lighting them off at 3 a.m. and use precautions it doesn't bother me," he said.
       Village ordinances state noise emissions cannot exceed 65 decibels as measured at the boundary property lines.
       Romeo Police Chief Greg Paduch said one ticket was written last year for noisy fireworks, saying if someone calls and complains the department will respond.
       "People have a right to quietness after dark," he said. "The bottom line is it's a nuisance, and if people consider it a nuisance they will have to cease."
       He said his other concern was the fallout from fireworks landing on roofs or older trees and causing fires.
       Bruce Township's ordinance only regulates public displays or shows, asking people to apply for a permit to be approved by the Board of Trustees.
       Clerk Susan Brockmann said the township relies on the state law for fireworks, but may look into a fireworks ordinance to govern "backyard" usage.
       The township has a noise ordinance similar to Romeo, but Brockmann said such ordinances can be difficult to enforce.
       "You can call local law enforcement, but we don't have local patrols," she said. "It's easy to create ordinances, but some are hard to enforce due to the nature of the complaint."
       State law requires people to gain permission from a property owner to light fireworks on their land. It also prohibits minors and those under the influence of alcohol to use fireworks.

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Retrieved 7/29/2015 at 9:24:37 AM.
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