A New Years reminder: Georgia has new fireworks rules

A large crowd enjoys the fireworks show after the lighting of the Christmas tree Saturday, at Atlantic Station, November 19, 2016, in  Atlanta. GA.  STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

A large crowd enjoys the fireworks show after the lighting of the Christmas tree Saturday, at Atlantic Station, November 19, 2016, in Atlanta. GA. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Gov. Nathan Deal lifted a ban on the use of fireworks across most of Georgia in December, clearing the way for New Year’s Eve celebrations. And a 2016 measure he signed into law allows the use of fireworks until 1 a.m. on New Year’s, though it includes other restrictions.

With wetter weather ending Atlanta’s record-breaking 42-day streak without rain ended, state regulators concluded it was time for the governor to rescind his order prohibiting the use of fireworks in much of the state.

Georgia legalized the use of most kinds of fireworks in 2015, for the first time making it legal to sell, buy and possess fireworks such as firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars.

Lawmakers enacted new restrictions earlier this year, responding to angry complaints from residents jolted awake by sparkly explosions on mundane weekdays. It bans residents from setting off fireworks after 9 p.m. most of the year, and allowed local governments to pass ordinances to extend those limits.

But it also carves out exceptions to allow the use of fireworks until 1 a.m. on New Year’s and midnight on Fourth of July. The measure, House Bill 727, also bans people from igniting fireworks on roads and highways and within 100 yards of a hospital, nursing home and prisons.

 

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