ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Senate has approved a measure that would create a statewide ban on the intentional release of balloons into the atmosphere.

The Senate voted 38-8 on Tuesday for the measure. A similar bill is pending in the House of Delegates.

The bill creates a civil penalty of up to $250 per violation by an organization or a person who is at least 13 years old. Supporters of the measure say it’s needed to reduce littering.

Frederick County Councilman Kai Hagen (D) introduced a similar measure last year at the local level, which passed in a 5-2 vote before the County Council in December. Part of his reason for introducing the bill, he said previously, was to join Queen Anne’s County and other jurisdictions in being a model for the state when looking at the issue. In August, Queen Anne’s County became the first county in Maryland to ban the intentional release of non-biodegradable balloons.

And last year, researchers in Virginia released a study about the local problem of balloon litter in the marine environment.

Sen. Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll) was one of the eight no votes. He said the law is already on the books, through penalties for littering.

“Littering is already a $1,500 [misdemeanor],” Hough said in a text Wednesday. “This bill creates a $250 civil penalty to litter with a balloon. The bill was unnecessary.”

The House of Delegates version of the bill has yet to reach a vote.

(7) comments

veritas

With baloons out of the way, it's on to confetti. What a state.

des21

Whew! Thank God that's been taken care of!

Alice Jones

Instead of complaining, why not get involved in the process? Oh wait, it’s so much easier to sit and whine/complain.

KellyAlzan

Legislatures with no ideas on what bills to create, so they come up with last minute dumb stuff, like this.

We have a Maryland home Improvement Commission that has laws dating back to the late 1960’s and is in desperate need of a complete make over.

But instead, we’re d—king around with balloons.

Kelpfarming

Embarrassing what the suburban guilty gang prioritise. Meanwhile in downtown Baltimore REAL problems exist.

phydeaux994

Phew! One less thing to worry about. 🎈🎈🎈

DickD

I agree with Hough.

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