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Georgia Senate passes bill to prohibit local regulations on gas-powered leaf blowers

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Georgia Senate passes bill to prohibit local regulations on gas-powered leaf blowers

Gas powered leaf blower. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — The Georgia Senate passed a bill on Feb. 27 that aims to prohibit counties and municipalities from creating local regulations on gas-powered leaf blowers. 

The Landscape Equipment and Agricultural Fairness (LEAF) Act went through the legislature in 2022, but ultimately did not pass the General Assembly. This year, the bill passed the Senate by a 37-16 vote. 

Senate Bill 145 will go to the state House of Representatives for consideration. If the bill is passed and signed into law, local governments would not be able to adopt regulations that create differing standards for or distinguish gas-powered leaf blowers from similar equipment. 

A gas-powered leaf blower is defined as “any machine that is powered by a two-stroke or four-stroke engine and uses as fuel gasoline or a blend of gasoline and oil, used to blow leaves, dirt, or other debris off of sidewalks, driveways, lawns, or other surfaces,” the legislation states. 

The bill passed the Senate with an amendment from Sens. Shawn Still (R – Norcross), who is the bill sponsor, and Elena Parent (D – Senate District 42), which says the bill will be repealed as of June 30, 2031. 

While Parent worked on the amendment to the bill, she voted against the legislation. 

During the Senate floor session, Still said the bill aims to protect the use of gas-powered leaf blowers until electric technology can catch up. 

“It does not prevent campuses, such as schools, corporate centers, hospitals, from banning gas blowers,” Still said. “It does not prevent HOA neighborhoods from banning the units. It does not address noise or decibel ratings. What this bill does do – it prevents entire cities and counties from banning gas-powered units because the technology between gas and electric are not equal.”

He added that one day, electric leaf blowers will meet the needs of professionals and homeowners. 

“To my colleagues concerned about whether or not this bill preempts local control, I offer that this bill exactly gives local control to each individual homeowner to decide what they are going to do in their own yard,” Still said. 

Parent noted it was important to put in the sunset clause and said some of her constituents have raised concerns about the bill. 

“That is because, a couple of reasons, gas-powered leaf blowers are pretty toxic in terms of their pollution, as well as the noise they emit and this bill usurps local control, which matters more to those of us who represent older, denser communities, because the sort of less desirable impacts of gas-powered leaf blowers are stronger the more dense your community is,” Parent said.

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