You have probably seen lots of trash on the side of the highways as of late. Some people just seem to think that the world is their trash receptacle. This is unacceptable. The Alabama Legislature has responded by augmenting the pecuniary penalties for criminal littering. A representative from Mobile County sponsored the bill; I voted in support of it.

A person commits the crime of littering in Alabama when, among other things, he or she drops rubbish, trash, garbage, paper, glass, bottles, scrap metal, debris, plastic, cigarettes, etc. in waterways without permission; or the person throws or drops litter “upon or alongside any highway, road, street, or public right-of-way and does not immediately remove the same or cause it to be removed.”

Criminal littering was formerly classified as a Class C misdemeanor. It is now classified as a Class B misdemeanor.

The minimum fine for the first conviction had been $250; now the fine for a first conviction is $500. Fines for the second conviction had been $500; now the fine for a second conviction is $1,000 and up to 100 hours of community service in the form of picking up litter along highways, roads, streets, or by a fine of not less than $2,000 but not more $3000.

In addition to the fines above, there is an additional fine of $500 when cigarettes, containers of urine and food containers are the litter that is thrown, dropped or tossed.

I am encouraging you to not litter; if you do and are caught, you will face stiff fines. Law enforcement departments are going to brief their officers to be on the lookout for those who litter. Prosecutors will enforce this law and judges will not have discretion as they must follow the law’s strict guidelines.

Do not litter. Find other ways to dispose of your trash. Litter makes our roads, sidewalks, ditches, ravines and communities look terrible. Together, if we are to be better, we will have to do better. If everyone takes care of his or her own trash in a responsible manner, our surroundings will be more pleasant. Love yourself; love your neighbor. Cleanliness is next to godliness.

Prince Chestnut

State Representative

House District 67

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