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Maryland Democratic lawmakers to follow other states in fining residents who release helium balloons

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has yet to publicly say whether he’ll sign the measure. 

Updated: April 9, 2021 - 3:35pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Democrat-controlled Maryland legislature has passed a bill to fine residents $100 for intentionally releasing balloons into the atmosphere, following several other states also attempting to reduce littering and non-biodegradable trash through penalties.

The state House passed the measure Thursday along party lines, according to DCist.com.

The bill now goes to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has yet to publicly say whether he’ll sign the measure. 

The bill also requires a person fined with releasing a helium balloon into the atmosphere to watch an information video or perform community service. 

Delegate Regina Boyce, a Democrat representing Baltimore City, during debate recalled in incident in 1986 in which 1.5 million balloons were released by the United Way in Cleveland in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record. 

On the day of the release, there was a cold front that reportedly brought many of the helium-filled balloons back down all over the Ohio region caused numerous car accidents, littered streets and even stopped a Coast Guard search on Lake Erie for two fishermen who had gone missing the day before the balloon release.

The Balloon Council, a national balloon trade group, supports efforts to prevent balloon releases, but argues that balloon release bans are not the answer.

Virginia prohibits the release of more than 50 balloons within one hour, subject to a fine of up to $5 per balloon.

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