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More time for fireworks this Fourth of July

The Parade Company
via theparade.org

Michiganders will have more days this Fourth of July to use fireworks. Laws passed last December restrict the number of days fireworks can be used around holidays, except for Independence Day.

Three bills were passed in December 2018: House Bills 59395940, and 5941.

State Representative Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond) sponsored some of the legislation. He says the laws give local authorities power to decide when they’ll allow fireworks.

"Expanding it around Fourth of July is reasonable because people expect fireworks during this time period, so it actually moves away from state regulation on holidays we think that are generally not associated with fireworks," Yaroch says.

State Representative John Chirkun (D-Roseville) sponsored two of the bills. He said the measures added more days to Independence Day because of its popularity.

"A lot of cities had a lot of complaints about the timing of the fireworks and the amount of fines you could collect from them if you found people shooting them off after the time allotted by state law," Chirkun said.

Local governments can have ordinances that allow more days for fireworks. However, they have to allow the ignition, discharge, or use of fireworks on specified days: until 1 a.m. on January 1; the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Memorial Day; the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Labor Day. And it gets more complicated - fireworks can go off June 29 to July 4 - and potentially July 5, if that date happens to land on a Friday or Saturday (like this year). On any of those days, the fireworks must go off between 11 a.m. and 11:45 p.m., with the exception of New Year's Eve (phew! still with us?). 

The laws also establish a heftier fine for anyone who uses fireworks outside of the designated times. Previously, there was a $500 civil fine. The law now imposed a $1,000 fine for anyone found shooting fireworks outside the restricted time-frame.

Both Rep. Chirkun and Yaroch stress the danger of fireworks and advise caution when using them. 

This post was originally published June 28, 2019 at 10 a.m. It was updated July 3, 2019 with Stateside audio. 

Backyard firework celebrations got a lot bigger with the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act of 2011, but legally-purchased fireworks also made for lots of noise complaints. Michigan lawmakers have since made several tweaks to that law. Michigan Radio’s Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta explains what residents can and cannot do when lighting up the night in a conversation with Stateside, which you can hear in the audio file at the top of the page. 

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