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City Council on May 27 to discuss changes in fireworks laws

MARYSVILLE The Marysville City Council next week will consider amending the citys fireworks laws to give police the additional enforcement tool to issue civil citations to violators.
The amendment not only applies to use and discharge of illegal fireworks, but also to standard safe and sane fireworks if they are ignited outside the specified times and dates under city laws.
Currently, fireworks violators can be charged with at least a misdemeanor criminal offense.
However, the Council is considering the change in the fireworks ordinance to allow police the option to issue a civil infraction instead of a criminal citation, which would result in a fine-only penalty for scofflaws, similar to a traffic ticket. The fine can be issued up to $500.
Due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, the meeting will be 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 27 in the Council Chambers, 2nd Floor in City Hall, 1049 State Ave. Public input will be taken.
This proposed change to the law is better for citizens and the community in general because it means our officers will be able to spend less time processing criminal citation paperwork, and more time on the streets responding to the high rate of fireworks complaints we receive every Fourth of July, Police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux says.
Other proposed revisions to the law include:

. Increasing the misdemeanor fine from $300 to the standard state penalty of a fine not to exceed $1,000 or 90 days in jail, or both;

. Raising the gross misdemeanor fine to the standard state penalty of a fine an not to exceed $5,000 or a year in jail, or both;

. A clause permitting that a person with three or more civil infractions within a two-year time period will be cited as a misdemeanor

By City ordinance, discharge of fireworks is restricted to 9 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday, July 4 only. The ordinance also limits the sale of legal fireworks, those defined as Class C or safe and sane, from noon-11 p.m. on June 28 and from 9 a.m.-11 p.m. June 29-July 4.
Safety is the Citys foremost concern, Lamoureux says.
Use caution and follow safety rules for responsible use of fireworks, he reminds. Illegal fireworks in particular pose a public safety and medical hazard, and they have the potential to cause property damage in the Marysville area.
The City would ultimately prefer to educate community members about responsible use of fireworks than write tickets, says Doug Buell, Community Information Officer.
Word of mouth by ticketed violators may be the most effective way to spread the news, he says.

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