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New Consumer Fireworks Legislation

The Michigan Fireworks Safety Act became effective on January 1, 2012. The new statute makes the sale, use, and possession of “consumer fireworks” legal. Consumer fireworks are fireworks that are designed to produce visible and/or audible effects by combustion, such as firecrackers, Roman candles, and bottle rockets. Photos of Legal Fireworks in Michigan (pdf). Read more…

The seller of consumer fireworks must annually obtain a consumer fireworks certificate issued by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and pay the required fee—$1,000 for each retail location that is a permanent building or $600 for each retail location that is not a permanent building.

This consumer fireworks certificate must be obtained by April 1 each year in which consumer fireworks are to be sold. The statute also creates a Fireworks Safety Fee, to be collected on all retail sales and forwarded to fireworks safety fund, which will be used for firefighter training, grants to local units and other uses to carry out the Act. The statute also imposes criminal sanctions and civil fines for violating the Act. Additionally, the Act requires retail locations to have fire suppression systems, a valid federal taxpayer identification number, and insurance coverage of not less than $10,000,000 during periods of fireworks sales.

Municipalities may not enact or enforce an ordinance, code, or regulation pertaining to or in any manner regulating the sale, display, storage, transportation, or distribution of fireworks regulated under the Act. However, municipalities are permitted to enact ordinances regulating the ignition, discharge, and use of consumer fireworks. Additionally, municipalities are not permitted to regulate the use of consumer fireworks on the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday. While municipalities are not permitted to regulate the use of consumer fireworks on the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday, local noise ordinances may still be enforceable regardless of the day. 

Display Fireworks
Cities, villages, and townships are responsible, under Michigan law, for issuing permits for "display fireworks" (for example, a Fourth of July fireworks show) and "articles pyrotechnic" (for example, professional displays during concerts or shows, especially with a "proximate" audience). Fireworks application and permit forms are provided only to the city, village, or township (the local permitting authority), and are available only from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Bureau of Fire Services at (517) 241-0691. Read more…

The federal Safe Explosives Act (SEA) requires any person who receives explosive materials, including display fireworks, to have a license or permit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The SEA mandates inspections of applicants for new display fireworks license or permits, as well as inspections of existing licensees or permittees. Cities, villages, and townships may be contacted by the ATF investigators during these inspections to determine compliance with state and local requirements. Questions regarding the federal regulation of display fireworks may be referred to ATF Industry Operations in Detroit at (313) 259-8050, or in Grand Rapids at (616) 301-6100.

In the event that display fireworks or illegally manufactured fireworks are involved in a permit violation, contact your local ATF office for enforcement assistance and safe handling/storage recommendations. The Michigan State Police Bomb Squad can also assist townships with safe handling/storage recommendations and can be contacted through the MSP Operations Center at 800-525-5555.

Fireworks Ordinances
Note: LARA has requested an Attorney General opinion regarding some of the aspects of local regulation of fireworks. The following information has been confirmed with LARA staff, but is subject to change pending the requested guidance. (April 25, 2012)

A city, village, or township cannot regulate or adopt an ordinance regulating the sale, display (for sale), storage, transportation, or distribution of fireworks that are regulated by PA 256 (consumer fireworks and low impact fireworks). (MCL 28.457) LARA regulates the storage and sale through mandatory registration and fees, and the U.S. Department of Transportation regulates transport.

A city, village, or township may enact an ordinance regulating (including prohibiting) the ignition, discharge, and use of consumer fireworks (fireworks devices designed to produce visible effects by combustion, as defined by MCL 28.452), but such an ordinance cannot regulate (including prohibiting) the use of consumer fireworks on the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday. Read more…

(MCL 28.457) "National holidays" are those defined in 5 USC 6103:

New Year’s Day, January 1
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February
Memorial Day, the last Monday in May
Independence Day, July 4
Labor Day, the first Monday in September
Columbus Day, the second Monday in October
Veterans Day, November 11
Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day, December 25.

A city, village, or township may enact an ordinance incorporating standards for the competency and qualifications of operators for "articles pyrotechnic" and "display fireworks," including time, place and safety aspects of the display (ignition, discharge or use) of articles pyrotechnic or display fireworks, as part of the process of granting permits. (MCL 28.466) Cities, villages, and townships should note that such an ordinance will possibly be required by an insurance carrier as a condition of fireworks liability insurance.

"Novelty fireworks" are not regulated.

 

 

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