Divers finding balloons in Lake Michigan and Girl Scouts spending their time picking up balloon debris in the Chicago suburbs led to Illinois State Representative Sam Yingling putting forth Illinois House Bill 418 (HB-0418).

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Here's what the bill's language looks like:

Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Environmental Protection Act. Provides that no person shall knowingly release or cause or organize the release of balloons into the air unless the balloons are (1) used by an institution of higher education or a governmental agency, or pursuant to a governmental contract, for bona fide scientific or meteorological purposes or (2) released indoors and remain indoors. Provides that persons who violate the amendatory Act's provisions shall be subject to a civil penalty of $500 for each offense, and that the release of 50 balloons or fewer at one time is a single offense. Effective January 1, 2022.

Well, Okay...This Seems A Bit Confusing

The Illinois House voted on April 21st to make it illegal to release 50 or more balloons in Illinois. Do it once, you'll get a warning. Twice, you get a $500 fine. A third time, it goes up to a $1,000 fine. And that’s for each group of 50 balloons.

Interestingly, government agencies and universities are exempt from these rules, according to the wording of the bill. Funny how the people who make the rules often exempt themselves from those very same rules.

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Balloons Cause Environmental Problems

The bill’s sponsor, Illinois State Representative Sam Yingling says that balloons are an environmental threat and recently caused a power outage for over 1,000 customers in Champaign. After released balloons come down, Yingling says they create problems for farmers and wildlife.

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Don't worry. Even though Illinois has the highest state and local tax burden in the nation, and we're dealing with a gigantic pension crisis, Springfield lawmakers are focused on the big issues.

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