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Senate Approves Littering Fine Increase to $1,000

Under the legislation, any persons convicted of a violation of littering would also be liable for the removal of all litter or ordered to pay restitution for the cost of removal.

If you tend to hurl trash out your car window and you haven't gotten caught yet, now is the time to break the disgusting and disrespectful habit.

The Rhode Island Senate voted last week to approve a bill that would increase the maximum fine for littering in Rhode Island from $500 to $1,000.

It is nearly impossible to travel anywhere in the state – little villages, big cities, parks, country lanes, the interstate -- and not see litter piling up in curbs, clogging drains, blowing down the road or along the side of the highway.

“It is, in a word, disgusting,” said Senator Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, Providence, North Providence). “It’s not just an eyesore, it’s an indication that some people are disrespectful and have little or no pride in their community or their state.”

In addition, said Majority Leader Ruggerio, litter costs cities and towns money in cleanup costs.

“Perhaps people toss junk out their car window because, if they are caught and fined, they think $85 is not a big deal,” he said, referring to the minimum monetary penalty for littering. “It’s time to change that. If we cannot convince people through education that littering is not the right thing to do, maybe a stiffer fine will convince them to find a proper receptacle for their trash.”

The Senate this week approved 2014-S 2721A, sponsored by Majority Leader Ruggerio, that will increase the fine for littering from a maximum of $500 to $1,000. (The minimum would remain at $85, as would the requirement that the offending individual also pick up litter for a period of between 2 and 25 hours.)

A second or subsequent offense would see a hike in the maximum fine from the current $500 to $5,000.

Under the legislation, any persons convicted of a violation of littering would also be liable for the removal of all litter or ordered to pay restitution for the cost of removal.

 The legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. A companion House bill, 2014-H 8177, sponsored by Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence), is currently before the House Committee on Judiciary.

Stephen Weber June 16, 2014 at 04:35 PM
Great if it was enforced but most laws are not enforced since the liberals /democrats from the top down started destroying our country and our state...
Sandy Lukowicz June 17, 2014 at 07:19 AM
I see people throwing stuff out of their car windows all the time. Not long ago I saw a bag of trash flying out of a window right in front of me. I layed on the horn to let him know I saw what he did. And what can I do about it? Can I call the police and report the crime? What are the police going to do? It'll be my word against the drivers'. Residents in Coventry have to have more respect for their town. And it's NOT kids that are doing this........it's adults!!!!
Derek Duchemin June 17, 2014 at 09:19 AM
this state is so desperate for money they raise the fine to $1,000, it is like impossible to pay that, do you have $1,000 on hand, cause I certainly don't.
Former Ports resident June 17, 2014 at 11:38 AM
Derek, then don't throw garbage out your window. And if you are caught and have no money, make it an installment fine or work it off picking up litter at the minimum wage rate
William Denton June 18, 2014 at 12:53 AM
Republicans be like "I'm dumpin' my trash in your back yard Makin' certain you don't notice really isn't so hard You're so busy with your guns and all of your excuses to use them."

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