Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Balloon-Release Regulations Deflate

Party clown industry, balloon fines and sting operations drawn into Virginia General Assembly debate.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 10:58 AM

Introduced as the “dreaded balloon bill,” state Sen. Jeff McWaters’ proposal to ban the intentional release of balloons into the air drew out prolonged debate Friday as his fellow senators worried about the measure’s potential impact on the “birthday party clown industry” and the specter of children getting caught up in “undercover balloon sting operations.”

Currently, state code allows someone to release 50 balloons an hour. The bill would have outlawed any intentional release of balloons, and instituted a $5-per-balloon fine for offenders.

McWaters, of Virginia Beach, said the goal was to reduce coastal pollution. But his colleagues made it clear that they found the prospect both ludicrous and humorous: “Do we really need to go so far as to regulate balloons?” Sen. William Stanley said. “What next, ice cream cones? … Where do we stop?”

The measure failed. Feel free to continue releasing your allotted 50 balloons an hour into the air.


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