The Georgia state Senate approved plans for voters to decide on legalizing the sale of fireworks in the state. The question could go on the election ballot next year if the proposal gets final approval at the Capitol.
Georgians routinely travel to neighboring state to buy fireworks legally. The sponsor of the measure, Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) argues that Georgia would be better off to allow and regulate fireworks sales here.
"People drive hundreds of miles and they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and I was thinking, why can't we just do it here, embrace it and put as many safety features in it to make it as safe as possible for the children and adults and anybody," said Mullis.
The proposed constitutional amendment passed the Senate Tuesday on a vote of 44 to 5.
Mullis says that under his plan, fireworks would pay for trauma care and firefighting services. However, healthcare advocates warn of the potential for increased injuries, especially among children.
"You are encouraging the sale of a product that causes injuries and burns and trauma and then you want to tax that same product with money going to help fund the trauma system. It's kind of circular; it just doesn't make a lot of sense to me," said David Tatum of Chlidren's Healthcare of Atlanta.
The resolution now requires a two-thirds majority in the state House before the fireworks question can go on the ballot for voters.
Another measure spells out potential regulations for fireworks sales in Georgia. That legislation has not yet received a Senate vote.