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Politics & Government

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.