To the joy of some and the chagrin of others, the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act (the “MFSA”) has permitted consumer-grade fireworks to be used in Michigan on federal holidays and 24 hours before and after each federal holiday for approximately the past year and a half.
As originally enacted, Section 7 of the MFSA contained an express prohibition on local government interference with the “ignition, discharge, and use” of consumer-grade fireworks during this three-day period surrounding federal holidays. Consequently, the hands of local officials were tied in responding to complaints of residents who were kept awake all hours of the night by the BOOMS of their neighbors’ holiday celebrations.
On June 19, 2013, Governor Snyder signed into law Act 65 of the Michigan Public Acts of 2013 (“Act 65”), which amends the MFSA to permit greater local control of consumer-grade fireworks in these three-day holiday periods. In relevant part, Section 7 of the MFSA now provides as follows:
A local unit of government may enact an ordinance regulating the ignition, discharge, and use of consumer fireworks, including, but not limited to, an ordinance prescribing the hours of the day or night during which a person may ignite, discharge, or use consumer fireworks. If a local unit of government enacts an ordinance under this subsection, the ordinance shall not regulate the ignition, discharge, or use of consumer fireworks on the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday except as follows:
(a) A local unit of government with a population of 50,000 or more or a local unit of government located in a county with a population of 750,000 or more may regulate the ignition, discharge, or use of consumer fireworks between the hours of 12 midnight and 8 a.m. or between the hours of 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. on New Year’s day.
(b) A local unit of government with a population of less than 50,000 located in a county with a population of less than 750,000 may regulate the ignition, discharge, or use of consumer fireworks between the hours of 1 a.m. and 8 a.m.
The MFSA further authorizes local units of government to impose a civil fine in the amount of $500.00 for each violation of a local ordinance regulating the ignition, discharge, or use of consumer fireworks.
Finally, it is noteworthy with respect to potential zoning regulation that Act 65 also amends the MFSA to clarify that retail locations selling consumer grade fireworks are subject to the Stille-Derossett-Hale Single Construction Code Act, which supersedes the National Fire Protection Association Code to the extent there is any conflict or inconsistency.
If your municipality needs assistance preparing or updating zoning and noise provisions that address consumer grade fireworks, please contact one of the lawyers in Mika Meyers’ municipal law practice group.