Louisiana bills crack down on litter

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/28/2014

A bill halfway through the Louisiana Legislature would crack down on travelers who flick their cigarette butts out the window.

The Senate Environmental Quality Committee voted to advance a bill that would add cigarette butts to the list of items that a person can be charged with littering. The violation would carry a fine of $300 – up from $250 -- and retain eight hours of litter cleanup duty.
Subsequent violations could result in fine amounts up to $1,500. The rule change would preserve the 80 hours of litter cleanup and suspension of driver’s license for one year.

Rep. Pat Connick, R-Marrero, told committee members cigarette butts, which do not degrade, are the most-littered item in the United States.

“People do not think these butts are litter. They lack in awareness of the problem,” Connick testified. “Hopefully we can change that culture to some extent.”

HB1075 awaits consideration on the Senate floor. If approved there, it would move to the governor’s desk. House lawmakers already approved the bill on a 95-1 vote.

Another bill covering litter addresses people who fail to pay fines for violations. The House Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill that could result in driver’s license suspension for anyone who fails to pay up or show up for court.

A license suspension would be lifted once the fine is paid.

Rep. Sherman Mack, R-Livingston, said the bill addresses a problem created when people continually throw away, or disregard, their violation notices.

Rep. Stephen Ortego, D-Carenco, noted the irony that litters are throwing the notices into the trash.

HB1113 next moves to the House floor.

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