Hold your balloons close, you party animals, because releasing them into the air may soon become an offense punishable by... a hypothetical penalty, the exact details of which are presently unclear. But surely you don't want to find out!

New York Senator Alessandra Biaggi has proposed that the state ban the purposeful release of even a single mylar balloon ("any balloon constructed of electrically conductive material") filled with helium or similarly buoyant gas, or 25 helium-filled latex balloons within the span of 24 hours. The measure would not apply to hot air balloons, or weather balloons, or any other government balloons for that matter, just the ones you might drunkenly send into the stratosphere at the end of a wedding. That kind of thing.

It's a similar concept to the partial ban floated in East Hampton earlier this year, only Biaggi's bill doesn't point to anything like fines or public shaming or jail time for future offenders. Rep. Steve Englebright, chairman of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee and author of the Assembly's companion legislation, told the NY Post that lawmakers left out the punishments in an effort "to use a gentle approach … at the outset." Ominous!

Why this sudden war on balloons, you might be asking yourself. Unfortunately, balloon skins become regular old litter when they lose their wind, piling up in landfills and choking the animals who accidentally ingest them. Mylar balloons can also create chaos if they blow into power lines (that whole "electrically conductive material" thing), and then, there's the global helium shortage to contend with. Helium can be found in outer space, or belched up by radioactive elements decaying and interacting deep underground. The latter process produces our Earthly helium supply, only there just aren't enough sites for this helium-sourcing process to satisfy demand. According to the NY Times, this deficit shouldn't be blamed on party balloons but on a number of other factors having to do with the difficulty of collecting and storing helium, and to be clear, Biaggi's legislation appears environmentally motivated.

The obligation to murder all your balloons rather than sending them skyward may dampen your spirits, but just remember: Balloons can be a public menace. Remember the great and catastrophic Balloonfest of 1986? Wherein 1.5 million helium balloons were unleashed on Cleveland in a single go, with calamitous results? The balloon cloud engulfed the local airport, making flight traffic a waking nightmare; it caused crashes on the roadways and terrified area horses. People actually died, so while balloons seem like they should be all fun and games, they can also be dangerous. See for yourself, balloon mania: