The balloon industry has reached an agreement with Senator Scott (bill author) and his staff on SB 1499, and it does NOT include a ban on helium-filled foil balloons. The bill was amended 7/15/2008. SB 1499 had a hearing today in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it went to the “suspense file”. The suspense file is a routine method by which the committee prioritizes bills. This bill still has to pass Appropriations, the full assembly, go back to the senate and then be signed by the governor to become law.
Both sides agree that consumer education is going to be a very important piece to making the revised California Balloon Law effective. The compromise worked out will increase public awareness about the appropriate use and disposal of foil balloons without criminalizing their sale or otherwise harming the California residents who bought 45 million of these balloons last year or the tens of thousands of small local businesses that sold them. In keeping with the spirit of this bill, we, as an industry, will be working to further increase public awareness of appropriate use of foil balloons. This is a meaningful compromise that will serve the public well.
The amendments to the current bill includes:
- Increase the size of the warning on the balloon so all manufacturers are consistent.
- Fund a study to research a new material to possibly be used in place of foil in the future.
- Educate retailers on the California Balloon Law.
- Include information on the California Balloon Law in every shipment to customers in California.
- Inform consumers of the California Balloon Law via store posters or other means.
- Toys and edibles will not be considered weights; therefore, you must attach a weight in addition to any toys and edibles.
- The fine for not following any of these rules is increasing from $100 to $250.