On Tuesday, Oct. 2, East Lansing City Council voted unanimously to ban discharge of the loud "consumer" fireworks that have plagued residents since early spring. The ban, which is effective October 10, 2012, applies to 335 days of the year -- all those except national holidays and the days before and after each, which the state's "Fireworks Safety Act" does not allow municipalities to regulate.
City staff have a comprehensive communications plan ready to go, so that East Lansing residents will know about the ban and not be taken by surprise. The One-Pager Plus about the new ordinance also notes the provision in state law that prohibits discharge of fireworks on public property, including streets and sidewalks. (Click on the PDF link above to see the One Pager Plus.) Under this provision, all the neighborhood fireworks displays I saw in Bailey this past summer would have been illegal.
To enforce the state and now the local law, police will need our help. In my conversations with them about this issue, they have been clear about the importance of calling in complaints, a point reinforced by Councilmember Kevin Beard at the Tuesday Council meeting. Calling 517-351-4220, extension 2, reaches East Lansing police dispatch 24/7.
At the state level, Representative Richard LeBlanc (D-Westland) has introduced one bill and plans to introduce two more that would address some of the problems with the state law. On Wednesday, I spoke with a staff member from LeBlanc's office, who said the bills together would allow municipalities to regulate sales, to extend bans to more days of the year (protecting only Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day), and to ban discharge late at night on the remaining protected days. He could not say whether or when the bills would get votes in the House. Representative Harold Haugh (D-Roseville), sponsor of the current state law, opposes the changes.