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Florida Gov. DeSantis signs bill prohibiting intentional release of balloons

Those who violate the law would be subject to a $150 littering fine.
Posted at 9:46 AM, Jun 26, 2024

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law on Monday that prohibits the intentional release of balloons in most circumstances.

DeSantis signed the bill after overwhelming majorities in the state's legislature approved the measure. Those who violate the law would be subject to a $150 littering fine.

Prior to the signing of CS/SB 602, Florida law allowed for the release of biodegradable balloons, as well as the release of up to 10 balloons at once. The updated law now eliminates those exceptions.

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The law has exceptions for government research balloons, such as those used by the National Weather Service for forecasting. Also, those under age 6 are exempted from the law.

According to an analysis of the bill, advocates for the legislation say that balloons "can pose a significant danger to wildlife and become a nuisance to the environment." Advocates for the bill say that balloon debris is among the five deadliest types of marine debris that pose a risk to marine wildlife.

The Coalition for Responsible Celebration has been urging state governments to implement bans on balloon release as it promotes responsible balloon usage.

"The CRC strongly supports HB321, signed into law by Governor DeSantis, which bans the intentional release of balloons," Maria Stockham, executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Celebration, in a statement. "Balloons bring joy to celebrations. Promoting responsible use and proper disposal ensures that balloons stay out of our waterways and powerlines, contributing to a healthier and cleaner community for all. This law reinforces our commitment to sustainability and the preservation of Florida's natural beauty."