ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Bills banning the intentional releasing of balloons have passed both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly this week.

Senate Bill 28 and House Bill 13 would ban intentionally releasing mylar and latex balloons into the atmosphere, establishing a civil penalty of a $250 fine.

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“We let off these balloons, we don’t know where they go. We do know there’s tons of plastics in our oceans. We do know it hurts sea life. It hurts birds,” co-sponsor Sen. Shelly Hettleman (D-Baltimore County) said. “I remember when I was a little kid, in my school, we all gathered outside and we let off dozens of balloons and sometimes we had messages on them, but what we learned in the interim is how bad they are in the environment.”

The effort to ban balloon releases follows a similar measure in Queen Anne’s County last year.

“When you release a balloon in the atmosphere, you’re littering,” Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Chris Corchiarino (R-District 4) said. “At first, I didn’t think this was that big an issue. There are bigger things we can worry about. There are also little things that we can worry about and we can do something about.”

It’s unclear whether or not Governor Hogan would sign a balloon ban bill. His spokesperson told WJZ, “The governor has not taken a position on this bill, however, as he has repeatedly stated, he would prefer the legislature focus on more pressing legislation like his violent crime bills.”

Paul Gessler

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