Continental Sales

SB 1499 Compromise


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 include:

For manufacturers:
- 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.

For distributors:
- Educate retailers on the California Balloon Law.
- Include information on the California Balloon Law in every shipment to customers in California.

For retailers:
- 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.

You can see the actual text of the SB 1499 here

We ask that you discontinue any outreach to the Appropriations Committee until otherwise notified. Please continue to check your e-mail and look for updates regarding SB 1499, and please follow up with the actions requested. Thank you again for your support on this critical effort. We did it!

Lorinda & Lorna Ferrell, CBA
Continental Sales
2924 18th Ave, Sacramento, CA 95820 800-350-4386
Wholesale to the professional balloon artist.

Balloon Industry Information
  • It is estimated that between 45-50 million balloons are sold in California each year.
  • Many of the retail business involved in the balloon business are minority and women-owned.
  • Thousands of retailers and businesses through out California sell balloons including major grocery chains, florists, drug chains, Hallmark stores, gift shops, card shops, hospital gift shops, party stores, mom & pop shops, theme parks, event artists, etc.
  • Balloons cheer thousands of people everyday through out California for birthdays, get well, congratulations, good luck, sentiments, new babies, thank yous, just because, wedding wishes, welcomes, goodbyes, holidays, etc.
  • Balloons are used at sporting events, political conventions, weddings, fairs, concerts, grand openings, sale events, car lot sales, conventions, trade shows, baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, fund raisers, company parties, open houses, celebrations and many other special events.
  • Balloons are used for eye-catching and appealing advertising campaigns and promotions.
  • Balloons are the perfect inexpensive, bright and fun gift for friends, teachers, bosses, secretaries, co-workers, children, neighbors, girl friends, boy friends or anyone.
  • Balloons are part of our culture.

SB 1499 - Economic Impact on California

1. Banning balloons will have harmful consequences to the economic vitality of business in California.

Fiscal Impact throughout your District and California:

  • 20,000 jobs are dependent on balloon sales and will probably be lost as a result of a ban on balloons. Can CA afford to have more unemployed?
  • Direct and indirect sales from balloons is estimated to be nearly $900 million - $1 billion per year. That is a potential of lost sales tax revenue of $70 - $80 Million dollars annually. Can CA afford to lose any sales tax revenue?
  • Thousands of businesses will suffer significant loss of sales and business if they could not sell metallic balloons and many will be forced out of business. Can CA afford to shut down any more businesses?
  • Many businesses that are closely linked to the balloon industry would suffer great losses in sales including balloon manufacturers, licensors i.e. Disney, Warner Brothers, etc. weight manufacturers, ribbon manufacturers, helium suppliers and helium equipment manufacturers. Hundreds of millions of dollars of indirect sales will be lost to businesses who serve businesses in the balloon industry i.e. insurance companies, banks, employment agencies, office supply companies, equipment companies, print and mail houses, advertising agencies, and many more. Can any industry in CA afford to lose any business?

2. There is no foundation for this bill. The facts are misstated and the claims are exaggerating the impact of escaped metallic balloons.

  • The utility companies must report power disruptions that result in $20,000 or more in damages or injuries to the CA Public Utilities Commission. Nearly 6000 reports were made in 2007. None were attributed to balloons.
  • Senator Scott states that power disruptions attributed to balloons cost over $120 million dollars last year. If that is true that means there had to be over 6000 outages that were under $20,000. But, the number of outages Senator Scott refers to is between 200 to 600 per year. The numbers do not add up!
  • Balloons are safe products! If there were 600 power outages in CA last year due to balloons compared to 45 million balloons sold, that means .0013% of balloons caused power outages.
  • PG&E is under scrutiny because of their low reliability issues. At this point it makes sense to PG&E to improve their reliability by even 1%. They are hoping that banning balloons will help raise their reliability statistics.

3. The Current California Balloon Law Works! There is no need for a law to dissolve an industry.

  • There is no need to ban balloons since the current law has proven to be extremely effective.
  • The current balloon law was enacted in 1990. Penal Code 653.1
  • Due to the education efforts of the balloon industry, no other states have enacted similar laws.
  • The electrical corporations were required report to the CPUC every month, from 1/1/91 until 6/30/93. The CPUC reported the CA Balloon Law was very effective and drastically reduced power outages due to balloons. It indicated that metallic balloons represented less than 0.2% of the total outages in CA.

Cultural Impact:

  • Parties and special events would have less impact without metallic message balloons.
  • Theme parks would no longer sell bright shiny licensed character balloons.
  • Hospital patients would no longer receive balloons to cheer them up and wish them well.
  • Mothers would no longer be able to treat their child at the grocery store with a bright shiny balloon.
  • Children would miss out on the magic of balloons.
  • The utility companies will have to find another industry to pick on.

Latex Balloon Warning: Choking Hazard. Children under 8 years can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.

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