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Bill Would Allow People to Swat Litterbugs

Posted March 22, 2007

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— State residents are the best weapon against highway trash, according to a lawmaker who wants to empower people to report litterbugs.

State Sen. Jim Jacumin, R-Burke, has filed a bill that would allow anyone to file a sworn affidavit with a civil magistrate after witnessing someone dispose of trash illegally. The affidavit would detail the car description and license plate number of the offender, as well as the date and location where the littering took place

The magistrate would then use the license number to find the offender and send him or her a $100 citation.

"If you throw that trash out of your car and somebody sees you, that's an eyewitness to it, and the citizenry needs to come forward and correct this problem," Jacumin said. "The solution isn't continuing to pick it up. The solution is stop it from being thrown out."

State Highway Patrol troopers and state Department of Transportation workers have too many other pressing duties to worry about catching litterbugs, he said. Troopers rarely write littering citations because they have to catch someone in the act, according to authorities.

Although they support Jacumin's desire to clean up state roads, some lawmakers said they have concerns about his proposal.

"Write everything down, drive down to the magistrate's office, swear out the complaint. That's a lot of burden for the person who's detecting the litterer," said state Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake.

There's also a question of civil rights, Ross said.

"It's definitely a guilty-until-proven-innocent way of dealing with it," she said.

Jacumin said he has included a provision in the bill that would make false littering reports a felony crime.

"We want to create problems for folks that litter in our state," he said.


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  • Watcher Of Things Mar 26, 2007


    ... and IF they can't show evidence that a SPECIFIC person tossed trash - it could be a problem!

    maybe I need to let a friend toss my trash when I am out of state - just to file charges for HARRASSMENT!
    ... then a civil suit for defamation of character ....

  • Bob3425 Mar 25, 2007

    This program will never work, one if someone got pissed off at another person a false affidavit could be filed, and if someone who filed against the first word out of his mouth should be I want a jury trial. Now the system becomes more loaded down. I think enforcement by police is a good idea, changing the laws like Katgoesloco suggested is good. Maybe instead of suspending student from school put them on work detail like they do in the Netherlands, out policing the cities and counties street. Better to be in school than really working and I talk to a student that happen too and she say she'll be in school. They work their butts off.

  • beck2bmybrat Mar 24, 2007

    I think the litter bug program is a good one! but I really don't think people will take the time to file a sworn affidavit.
    I think something more important to file is a sworn affidavit on all the folks driving on expired tags!!!! take a good look the next time you are drving at all the expired tags!!! It might be someone who throws that cig out the window!

  • 68_polara Mar 23, 2007

    From Neill:

    Oh, I can't wait! Let some inconsiderate slob throw another cigarette butt out the window, hallelujah!

    Or anyone who has a bumper sticker she disagrees with. I don't think we realize just how much of a problem this law may end up causing. I can't stand when people throw cigarette butts out the window to, however this law will be abused to no end.

  • Roach Mar 23, 2007

    My daughter's father-in-law will call the Sherrif when he picks up trash bags that blow off of trucks in front of his house. They look through the bags for envelops with the addresses. So beware folks. Stop and pick up your trash bags!

  • AFLOWERS Mar 23, 2007


  • IHave1-2 Mar 23, 2007

    Add an extra point to this bill if it is to be passed... the complainant must be reported to the 'perpetrator' when the complaint is filed. Can anyone see a rise in the crime rate with harassment, shootings or worse? It think the General Assembly needs to go home until they can come up with ideas that are worthy for a 'bill'. Prisoners need to work daily, as the majority of us do. Why is DOT complaining? Why are is SHP being brought into this? They don't hunt litterbugs.

  • kermelbar Mar 23, 2007

    Someone below said we should have something like South Carolina's "LitterBusters" campaign. We *do* have something like it -- Swat-A-Litterbug. http://www.ncdot.org/doh/operations/dp_chief_eng/roadside/Beautification/Litterbug/ Bookmark it and use it! The most frequent offenders I see aren't dump trucks, but lazy cigarette smokers. Look, your car *already* smells like smoke -- just put your cancer stick in the ashtray and clean it out regularly. Every LitterBug I've turned was someone tossing their cigarette out the window -- I've never witnessed any other kind of littering, though it obviously happens.

  • inform Mar 23, 2007

    Oh, I can't wait! Let some inconsiderate slob throw another cigarette butt out the window, hallelujah!

  • Greekgirl Mar 23, 2007

    I see it happening already.2 girls get into a squabble,one of the girls knows the others car info very well (heck,it's even sitting in the parking lot).She calls her "squabble mate" into law enforcement.Girl gets fined.IS THIS WHAT OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT SHOW BE USED FOR...PAYBACK?
    MAKE SOME DANG LAWS...OR GET OFF THE POT!!!It will be abused