Proposed ban on releasing balloons in South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) --- A proposed ban on intentionally releasing lighter-than-air balloons goes before the South Bend Common Council for a first reading Monday night.

Councilman Jake Teshka, R-5th District, the bill's sponsor, said the goal is to be good environmental steward.

"Once we release a balloon in the air, it could go 1 mile, or it could go 1,000 miles," he remarked.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, marine wildlife can mistake balloons for food and potentially die from ingesting pieces. Strings tied to balloons also pose suffocation risks.

Releasing balloons can cause power outages and high costs to utility customers, CPS Energy says.

"This is just a common-sense measure," Teshka said.

Some states already have laws regarding balloon releases, including Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee, New York, Texas, California and Virginia, according to Longwood University.

A public hearing on the proposed ban in South Bend is expected at the Feb. 10 South Bend Common Council meeting.

If the bill is passed in the future, a first offense for releasing a balloon intentionally would be $25. Additional offenses would be $100.