Editor’s Note: I appreciate the efforts of the Rutherford County Commission and Mayor Bill Ketron for passing a resolution asking for House Bill 2424 to be passed by the Tennessee General Assembly.
The past few years I’ve had more constituents including Eddie Deese, Craig Smith and my in laws Geary and Brenda Smith tell me that something needs to be done to curb illegal dumping.
Tennessee bill waiting on governor’s signature to increase litter fines
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Driving in Tennessee, some believe they’re seeing more and more of something: littering.
“We’re seeing an uptick, it seems like,” said Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna said. “I’m having more constituents asking what we can do about illegal dumping.”
Sparks said he hates seeing the littering around the state, which prompted him to draw up legislation — HB2424/SB2070 — for this session.
“A 100 million pieces of trash are picked up annually, so it’s a cost to the taxpayers,” he said.
Now lawmakers are making a change they hope will stop those taking part in what’s called “mitigated criminal littering.”
So, what does that mean? The description includes weight of more than five pounds or seven and a half cubic feet in volume. Right now, mitigated criminal littering carries a $50 fine. A bill moves that up to a $500 fine, catching up with some of Tennessee’s neighbors.
“We’re going to be on par with other states like Alabama and Georgia,” said Sparks. “I think the $500 can be a big deterrent, increasing it like that.”
Sparks sponsored the House bill, while Democrat Sen. Heidi Campbell sponsored the Senate bill. Further showing a bipartisan support, the bill passed both the House and the Senate and now goes to the governor to be signed.
“This right here is bipartisan,” Sparks said. “It’ll help people from Mountain City to Memphis.”