Reports surfaced on Thursday that Michigan lawmakers have formed a workgroup to take another look at the state's newly relaxed fireworks statutes, after thousands of noise complaints were sent by residents to Gov. Rick Snyder. The group will also be reviewing the safety concerns and complaints of confusion from local governments regarding the new law, which allows Michigan residents to purchase and use so-called "consumer fireworks," according to MLive and other media outlets.
Snyder received the complaints in the weeks surrounding the July 4 holiday. This year marks the first time that Michigan residents could legally purchase aerial and explosive fireworks under the new law, which was just signed by the governor this past December.
Here is some of the key information concerning the lawmakers' review of the statute and the push from local governments to scale back the kinds of fireworks that are legal in the state.
* The workgroup includes four state representatives -- Harold Haugh (D-Roseville), Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City), Hugh Crawford (R-Novi), and David Rutledge (D-Ypsilanti), according to MLive's report.
* Haugh is the original sponsor of the relaxed fireworks law.
* Despite the complaints, Crawford told the Detroit News that he has "no mind to repeal the law or drastically change the law."
* Instead, the workgroup intends to review recommendations from the Michigan Fire Marshal's Office and possibly clarify language in the law that lays out the rights of local governments to control the use and sale of fireworks in their communities, according to the Detroit News.
* The wording of the law reportedly left many local communities unsure as to just what kind of controls they could implement for themselves, without coming into conflict with the state regulations.
* That confusion has led some communities, who have complained that fireworks were being set off for weeks surrounding the July 4 holiday, to push for an outright repeal of the state's fireworks law. The St. Clair Shores City Council signed a resolution to that effect early last month, according to local Fox affiliate WJBK.
* Technically, the law only gives Michigan residents the right to shoot off such fireworks on 10 federal holidays, as well as the day preceding and the day after those holidays.
* While Crawford and the other members of the workgroup are not seeking to institute any dramatic changes to the law, other lawmakers are pushing for serious reforms to it. State Rep. Richard LeBlanc (D-Westland) has drafted bills that would allow fireworks on only three federal holidays -- Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day. His proposals would also return more control over the sale and use of fireworks to local governments, according to the Associated Press.
Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.
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