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Warren's mayor unimpressed by "window dressing" changes to fireworks law


It could be a long, hot, NOISY summer in Warren, Michigan, along with many other communities.

The city's mayor, Jim Fouts, is one of the most vocal critics of the state's one-year-old fireworks law, which permits individuals to purchase commercial-grade fireworks, and set them off the day before, the day of, and the day after ten major holidays.

He says a modification to the law being considered by the state legislature will do no good.

Legislators say they plan to allow cities to ban the discharge of fireworks between midnight and 8 a.m. on the legal fireworks days.

But Fouts says people already openly flout the current restrictions, by setting off fireworks almost all summer long, whenever they feel like it - and they will almost certainly ignore an after-midnight ban as well.

"Basically it's a fireworks frenzy, that is unceasing," says Fouts. 

Fouts says people from as far away as Mackinac Island have called his office to thank him for taking a stand against the law.

"So I feel like I've been a voice for the many thousands of people - maybe more than that - who've been very frustrated with this situation," he says.

Proponents of the legislation last year said the easing of fireworks restrictions could bring $40 million dollars into state coffers in vendor licensing fees. 

But it hasn't turned into the cash cow they were hoping.  Last year the state collected only about $3 million in fees.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.