Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 24
151st General Assembly (Present)
Becomes effective upon date of signature of the Governor or upon date specified
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE DELAWARE LITTER CONTROL LAW.
The intent of this Act is to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the environment and to raise awareness of the need to properly dispose of balloons. To that end, this Act imposes a civil penalty for the violation of intentionally releasing 5 or more balloons filled with air or lighter-than-air gases, to prevent litter which blights our communities and environment and causes harm to wildlife and marine animals. The release of multiple balloons at 1 time is a single offense under this Act. This Act also establishes that intentionally releasing 1 to 4 balloons at 1 time is littering. Exceptions are provided for the following: - A balloon that is released for scientific or meteorological purposes, on behalf of a governmental agency, or under a governmental contract. - A hot air balloon that is recovered after launching. - A balloon that is released and remains indoors. - A balloon that is filled with water for recreational purposes and recovered after recreation. - A balloon that is negligently or unintentionally released. Under this Act, the intentional release of 1 or more balloons is a civil violation, penalized as follows: - The first violation is subject to a civil penalty of at least $25. - A second or subsequent violation within 2 years of the first is subject to a civil penalty of $75 and up to 8 hours of community service for a second violation within 2 years of the first violation. The mass release of balloons is penalized as follows: - A first violation is subject to a civil penalty of at least $250 and up to 8 hours of community service. - A second or subsequent violation within 2 years of the first is subject to a civil penalty of at least $350 and up to 25 hours of community service. Under this Act, a retail or wholesale establishment that sells balloons must post a notice for customers that the intentional release of balloons is unlawful. All law enforcement agencies in Delaware have the authority to enforce this chapter. The Justice of the Peace Court has jurisdiction over violations of this chapter. This Act also makes a technical correction to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual. This Substitute differs from the original Senate Bill No. 24 by doing the following: - Making clarifications to the synopsis and the notice to be posted by retail or wholesale establishments. - Providing delayed enforcement for individuals who violate the prohibition of littering with 1 to 4 balloons or the mass release of balloons on or before April 30, 2022. Persons who are not individuals, such as organizations, are subject to the penalties under this Act immediately upon the effective date of this Act. This Substitute also makes technical corrections that were missed in the original Senate Bill No. 24.