It’s official! As of this Sunday, we are so pleased to announce that the litter bill we advocated for became law!
House Bill 1884, authored by State Representative Charles “Doc” Anderson (R –Waco) and sponsored by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R – Brenham), allows judges to sentence convicted litterers to up to 60 hours of community service picking up litter or working in a recycling facility in their county of residence.
We believe that this bill will help reduce recidivism rates by connecting litterers to the reality of their careless actions. A bottle discarded on the side of the road, a cigarette butt thrown out the car window, a plastic bag blown out of a truck — all of these items collect and end up somewhere. So often in Texas especially, litter ends up along farm-to-market roads in cash-strapped counties that do not have the staff or resources to remediate the actions of a few bad actors.
That is why we are so proud that Republican lawmakers recognized that an previously-viewed “liberal”, “environmental” problem is actually a community problem. House Bill 1884 adheres to conservative principles of small government, low taxes and prudence in legislation by giving judges the discretion to prescribe a punishment that fits the crime. The bill upholds community responsibility by distributing a punishment that connects convicted litterers to the results of their actions in a very real way.
Too often good residents and neighbors bear the brunt of a litterer’s actions. We’ve talked to many Texans who regularly pick up trash or pay for the removal of a stranger’s furniture, fridges, trash heaps, and other items left discarded on their property. Well, not anymore!
Our next step is simply to make sure local lawmakers and enforcement agencies know they’ve got this tool in their belt so they can utilize it! Hooray for progress!