Rhode Island enacts two new litter laws
STATE HOUSE – Two pieces of legislation -- one providing for increases in fines for littering and the other providing for a share of litter fine revenues with local law enforcement agencies – have been signed into law.
One new law – which takes immediate effect -- 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 will see a hike in the maximum fine from the current $500 to $5,000.
Under the new law, 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.
Signed were two bills passed by the General Assembly -- 2014-S 2721A, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, Providence, North Providence), and 2014-H 8177A, sponsored by Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence).
The second new law, which also takes immediate effect, will allow local law enforcement agencies to receive a portion of any fines collected from litterbugs.
As a result of enactment of the legislation, 30 percent of any fine for littering collected as a result of a complaint by a local law enforcement agency will be remitted to that agency, with payments to be made not less often than once every three months.
Under current law, a first violation of littering carries a fine of between $85 and $500. In addition to or in lieu of the fine, the person convicted of the offense may also be ordered to pick up litter for not less than 2 hours and as much as 25 hours.
A second offense carries a fine of between $300 and $500 and an order to pick up litter for 4 to 50 hours.
Currently all fines collected for littering are deposited in the state’s general fund.
Signed by the governor were companion Senate and House bills, 2014-S 2187, by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), and 2014-H 8279, sponsored by Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown).
For more information, contact:
Randall T. Szyba, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903