Georgia bill seeks protection for loud gas leaf blowers

A measure pending in the Georgia General Assembly, House Bill 1301, would limit regulations for noisy leaf blowers.

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A measure pending in the Georgia General Assembly, House Bill 1301, would limit regulations for noisy leaf blowers.

Measure would stop restrictions that single out gas leaf blowers

No matter how loud gas-powered leaf blowers get, a bill in the Georgia General Assembly would prevent local restrictions or bans that target them.

Legislation considered in a subcommittee Tuesday would prohibit counties or cities from treating gas-powered leaf blowers any differently from electric leaf blowers.

Both types of leaf blowers can make a lot of noise, but large gas-fueled blowers are often used by landscaping workers, while electric leaf blowers are more common among homeowners.

Defenders of gas-powered leaf blowers said landscapers need protection from potential government restrictions.

No local government in Georgia has passed an ordinance against gas leaf blowers, but regulations have been considered in the city of Decatur and in Athens-Clarke County. Jurisdictions in 19 states have total or partial leaf-blower bans, according to the Georgia Urban Ag Council, which represents the landscaping and turf care industry.

“The difficulty of operating their businesses across jurisdictions would cause chaos and confusion,” said Mary Kay Woodworth, executive director for the Georgia Urban Ag Council.

The legislation would still allow local regulations on hours of use and mufflers as long as they treat all types of leaf blowers the same.

The Association County Commissioners of Georgia told lawmakers it opposes state laws that limit the authority of county governments.

The House State and Local Government Subcommittee didn’t vote on the measure, House Bill 1301. But It could soon receive a vote in the House Governmental Affairs Committee.