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DeSantis signs law banning ‘intentional’ release of balloons

Florida has now banned the intentional release of balloons within the state, a move backed by ocean conservationists, cattle farmers and other groups.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Monday banning the “intentional release” of balloons in the state.

Lawmakers drafted the legislation to minimize the number of balloons floating over the coast and washing up on the state’s beaches. State Rep. Linda Chaney, a Republican who sponsored the bill, touted support from ocean conservation groups and cattle farmers alike.

“Our beaches are the greatest asset that Florida has, and not releasing a balloon is an easy way to protect our waterways and our wildlife,” Chaney said. “A released balloon is damaging and there’s nothing good about it.”


Chaney said DeSantis had some concerns about the bill, however, namely that it would ramp up fines for Florida residents. His office was particularly concerned that the law could be used to fine children, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

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“He was weighing the environmental benefits against the potential for fining people, when that’s not what we really want to do,” Chaney told the Times.

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The bill was ultimately amended to exempt children who are 6 years old or younger.

“Floridians don’t want balloon litter in their backyard, at their favorite beach, or floating in local waterways, and neither do the hundreds of millions of tourists who visit the state every year,” Emma Haydocy, a spokeswoman for the Surfrider Foundation told the Times.

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Both ocean conservationists and cattle farmers say stray balloons can be mistaken for food by animals. Sea turtles and cattle have both suffered health problems from eating plastic that drifts into their environments.

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