- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska lawmakers have approved a statewide ban on small, flame-powered paper air balloons which are viewed as a fire hazard.

Senators passed the measure Thursday with a 44-0 vote. It now goes to Gov. Pete Ricketts.

The bill’s advocates say the so-called flying lanterns pose a fire danger if they land in neighborhoods or dry fields. Violators would face a $100 fine.

The lanterns are made of flame-retardant paper and lifted by hot air from open flames at their bases. They’re often released into the sky at memorials or celebrations. Hot air balloons large enough to carry people would not be included in the ban.

The bill by Sen. Jerry Johnson of Wahoo would go into effect right away if Ricketts signs it.

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The bill is LB136

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