Legislative Notebook: Senate lights firework-legalization fuse

March 5, 2013 

The state Senate wants Georgians to vote on legalizing fireworks and dedicating the tax revenue from those sales to firefighter training and trauma care.

“Fireworks are illegal in Georgia, yet you hear them on every celebrating day,” said state Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga. He wants to legalize what he called “swoosh boom” explosive fireworks such as Roman candles. Sparklers are already legal.

By a 44-5 vote, the Senate passed Mullis’ Senate Resolution 378, which would put the question on the statewide November 2014 ballot.

Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, a former emergency room nurse, said she’s seen the injuries that come from fireworks -- burns, amputations and damaged hearing. Treatment for a burn, she said, can cost well over a million dollars.

“I have to put that out there,” she said.

Legalizing such fireworks would raise an estimated $5 million annually.

The resolution now moves to the House.

House would welcome more planes like Trump’s

A tax break that’s meant to attract non-Georgians and their airplanes to the state should continue, the state House says.

They said so via a 169-3 vote to extend a sales tax waiver on parts and equipment used to repair and maintain out-of-state airplanes.

When people work on planes and companies invest in facilities, Georgia’s tax take increases, said the author of House Bill 164, state Rep. Alex Atwood, R-Brunswick. Donald Trump had a plane repaired in Atwood’s district last year, and the representative is looking for more such customers. State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, is a bill co-signer.

The exemption is worth an estimated $5 million to $6 million annually.

The bill now moves to the state Senate.

-- Maggie Lee

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