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Gov. Snyder OKs Firework Sales Expansion

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Louder, more powerful fireworks will become legal in Michigan in plenty of time for the next Fourth of July through legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The legislation will make it legal to sell and use more powerful explosives such as firecrackers and some consumer-grade devices that shoot into the air, such as bottle rockets and Roman candles.

Michigan’s current list of legal fireworks for residents without special permits is generally limited to ground-based or novelty items such as sparklers, smoke devices, toy snakes and toy noisemakers.

The bills overwhelmingly passed the state Legislature despite some safety concerns.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick said the bill’s passage was many years in the making.

“Legislation sometimes takes a long time. It has been about six years that this legislation has been in the works and finally the finishing touches [have been] put on it,” said Skubick.

Lawmakers note some Michigan residents now travel to Indiana, Ohio or Wisconsin to buy the fireworks that aren’t legal at home. Legislators figure that since the fireworks wind up in Michigan anyway, they might as well be legalized so the state can get a piece of the action through jobs, taxes and fees.

“With the signing of these bills today, it places Michigan on an equal playing field and generates much-needed revenue and jobs to our state,” Rep. Harold Haugh, a Democrat from Roseville and a key sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement.

Businesses will have to pay for the right to sell the fireworks. Annual certificate fees due to the state would cost $1,000 for a retail location in a permanent building or $600 in a non-permanent location. There also would be insurance requirements for businesses.

A “fireworks safety fee” of six percent would be tacked on to the retail price of fireworks, in addition to Michigan’s regular six percent sales tax.

Snyder signed the bill Tuesday afternoon and is expected to officially file it with the Office of the Great Seal on Wednesday. The bill takes effect Jan. 1, which should give businesses time to ramp up by the summer fireworks season.

Sara Wurfel, a Snyder spokeswoman, said the bill was signed with the understanding that lawmakers would take up a bill to “increase penalties to protect Michiganders from bad actors or ‘fly by night’ operations” when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

Skubick said fireworks sales are expected to raise between $12 million and $15 million in state revenue.

The fireworks legislation is House Bill 4293 and Senate Bill 194.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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