Arizona House Democrats
PRESS RELEASE: Epstein introduces bills drafted by Girl Scouts to prevent balloon litter
Updated: Mar 9, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan 21, 2020
PHOENIX, State Capitol - Democratic Representative Mitzi Epstein is scheduled to hold a pess conference at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Rose Garden at the the Capitol, to answer questions on the dangers of balloon litter, featuring:
-Girl Scouts from at least 3 troops
-Issue experts from Liberty Wildlife with their birds of prey
-Plastic pollution experts
-Latex allergy stories from those who know
"Last year, 9-year-old Amber Chen wrote me a letter asking for a law to stop people from littering with balloons because the little kills turtles, birds and marine wildlife," said Epstein, D-Tempe. "She and her classmates learned about plastic pollution in school and she wanted to do something about it. We wrote a bill that was purely an educational exercise for the girl scout troop."
"This year, with the help of some scientists from ASU and the bicameral Sustainability Workgroup, we have two bills and we want them to pass," Epstein continued, "The first, HB2339, would make the litter from balloon releases a state law violation, and the enforcement could only be community service, such as picking up litter. The second bill, HB2338, asks for an appropriation for $400,000 to the Department of Education, projecting that Arizona could get a return of potentially $5 million. Schools could request up to $1,500 to plant trees on their campus, if the trees have low BVOC emissions and they are appropriate for the local climate."
In addition to the specifics Rep. Epstein offered for the scope of HB2338, she added "HB2338 is far more important than might be assumed because of its youthful advocates. It is about clean air, and Arizona needs to make improvements in air quality now."
"Balloons are for show, don't let them go!" was the rallying cry heard on Jan. 22nd, as the Arizona Capitol was swarmed with Girl Scouts looking to make their voices heard in the legislature. Rep. Mitzi Epstein has championed their bills, HB2338 and HB2339 to give schools money to plant trees suited for Arizona's climate, and to ban releasing balloons into the environment. Joining the Girl Scouts at a Capitol rally and press conference was Liberty Wildlife with birds of prey that can be harmed by balloons and scientist Charlie Rolsky.