- Associated Press - Saturday, January 30, 2016

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Some Georgia lawmakers are proposing changes to the state’s fireworks law, partly out of concerns about potential dangers.

Since the law was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal last May, some government officials have taken issue with it, saying it allows for the blanket use of consumer fireworks without any local control.

Three Republican lawmakers are taking a second look at the law and proposing changes that would restore some oversight of fireworks to local officials, The Savannah Morning News reported (https://bit.ly/1nohUfs). They include Sen. Tyler Harper of Ocilla; Rep. Alex Atwood of St. Simons Island; and Rep. Paul Battles of Cartersville.

In Pooler, Fire Chief Wade Simmons said local residents and leaders should be able to decide whether to set their own restrictions on the use of fireworks and how to do so.

He said fireworks were the source of two fires in Pooler, and warned the situation could have been worse in drought conditions.

“We’ve been really lucky,” Simmons said. “Our rain levels were up. But when it gets dry, everything is so flammable at that point, one stray firework can create a problem for everybody.”

The chief said the current law might not be a problem for more rural communities, but cities like Pooler, at the very least, should be able to decide how they will or will not restrict fireworks.

“We as a city and the citizens need to be able to decide how we’ll allow this,” Simmons said.

On Tybee Island, problems with fireworks prompted the City Council to submit a resolution to the Legislature asking that the law be amended to provide more local control, the newspaper reported.

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