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Governor Schwarzenegger and California Balloon Laws

Post 38 of 40

This is a reprint of an article that I wrote in October, but the information is still important and is worth reposting….

Gov. Schwarzenegger saves the balloons!

In April 2008 Senate Bill 1499 was introduced in the State Senate Public Safety Committee. Introduced to the Senate by Senator Scott and the power companies, who contended that mylar balloons could cause massive power failures. The bill would have made it a crime for any person to sell or distribute any balloon that is constructed of electrically conductive material, and filled with a gas lighter than air, or any balloon filled with a gas lighter than air that is attached to an electrically conductive string, tether, streamer, or other electrically conductive appurtenance, except as specified. The lobbying efforts of the balloon industry succeeded in bringing about a compromise, although the bill’s passage still would have meant significant changes in the use of mylar balloons here in California.

After passing the Senate and the Assembly, SB1499 was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who determined that other bills were a higher priority for the State of California. There is already a balloon law in place here in California. Current law mandates that helium-filled balloons be affixed to weights, attached to ribbon made of non-conductive material, and feature a label warning of the dangers of releasing balloons into the atmosphere. The current law has been in effect since 1990.

Although the balloon industry dodged this bullet, it’s important for anyone who puts on events to be aware of the current balloon laws, and make sure that they are followed, so that we don’t again face an all-out ban on helium-filled mylar balloons. In practical terms, what does this mean? It means that decorators in California can’t make helium filled arches out of mylar balloons, unless there is an anchor attached to each and every one of those mylar balloons- which would make it perfectly appropriate décor for the back of the stage, or as a wall dressing, but not for over a dance floor. Also, mylar balloons cannot be used as free-floating balloons on the ceiling. In a room with panel ceilings, however, the same look could be achieved by hanging air-filled mylar balloons from the ceiling. One last tip, often at events, guests would like to take some of the balloons home with them. Having some extra balloon weights on hand would enable your guests to take their souvenir home, without violating the California balloon laws, or running the risk of inadvertently causing a power failure.

Balloon Utopia has always been committed to the safe and ethical use of balloons. We continually strive not only to educate our clients on the proper uses of balloons, but also to develop new and interesting décor options that take balloons out of the standard fare, and into the realm of the extraordinary.

Check out Balloon Utopia’s website for the newest designs and ideas. Don’t see what you’re looking for? We’re always ready to custom design incredible decor and entertainment packages for you, just give us a call to see what we’ll dream up next!

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