Ballooning controversy pits Girl Scouts and lawmakers

By Paul Maryniak | Ahwatukee Foothills News

An Ahwatukee Girl Scout Brownie Troop of third graders may one day learn the lesson in Arizona hardball politics that their environmental project triggered.

But for now, the 15-girl troop – whose identity is being withheld by Ahwatukee Foothills News  at the request of their anxious parents and Scoutmaster Heather Sapp – hasn’t been told that their months-long effort to curtail the release of balloons in Arizona provoked an unusual and strident news release from House Majority Leader Warren Petersen.

Legislative Dstrict 18 Reps. Jennifer Jermaine, right, and Mitzi Epstein were indirectly attacked by House Republicans. The two legislators, whose district includes Ahwatukee, were acting on behalf of their constituents by proposing a ban on mass release of balloons. /Special to AFN

And even if they eventually learn about the tirade, the girls will likely continue to seek a law that drastically limits the release of balloons into the air, Sapp said.

Many bills are introduced in the State Legislature every session that never get a hearing and subsequently fade into oblivion without a mention – or a press release noting their demise.

But on April 12 Petersen issued a press release to celebrate the fact that HB 2664 was one of them, stating he “applauded House Republicans for killing” it.

“If enacted, HB 2664 would have prohibited the releasing of balloons into the air, as well as mandating expensive warning label requirements for manufactures to affix to balloons prior to sale,” the release began.

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