State legislators hope to increase enforcement of South Carolina’s littering laws — by reducing the fine against it.
That’s the idea behind a new bill that passed the state House overwhelmingly 98-14 on Tuesday. State Rep. Chandra Dillard said the state’s current fine structure is high enough that some officers are hesitant to enforce it.
“What is happening is that officers are not writing $450 tickets and cigarette butts are still on the street,” she said on the House floor.
The bill would create a fee structure that is based on the amount of litter involved. For instance, tossed litter under 15 pounds could lead to a $25-100 fine. Causing up to 500 pounds of litter could lead to $200-$500 fines or up to 30 days in jail. The sentence would increase after a second violation. More than 500 pounds that could spark a $1,000 fine or 90 days in jail.
However, former sheriff State Rep. Bruce Bryant, R-Rock Hill, said actually he thinks reducing the fine would make officers less likely to issue violations.
“Their time is more valuable than getting up out of bed in the middle of the day after spending all night working on a shift just to go into court… for a $25 fine,” he said. “Would they not have the attitude: that’s not worth my time?”
The measure heads to the Senate after another procedural vote Wednesday.