Butt out

Assembly tables Morrissey's cigarette bill for second straight year

Would a $100 fine and community service time stop you from flicking your cigarette butt out of your car window? Henrico Del. Joseph Morrissey, D-47th, thinks so.

For the second year, Morrissey has proposed to include cigarettes in an established bill prohibiting litter on public property or private property without consent. Any violator would be required to perform community service in litter activities and pay a $100 penalty to the Litter Control and Recycling Fund.

“The biggest pollutant in the Chesapeake Bay area is cigarette butts,” Morrissey said. “Consider an Olympic size swimming pool. Imagine eight of them filled to the brim with cigarette butts. That is what is flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. A lot of people who litter cigarettes don’t even think that they are doing anything wrong.”

Although the courts of justice criminal sub-committee tabled the bill, HB114, on Monday by a voice vote, Morrissey said that he would try again to snuff his pet peeve during the 2013 Assembly.

“It’s a killing field for Democratic bills,” Morrissey said. “You know what I think will happen? Next year some Republican is going to come along and sponsor the bill and get it passed. And that’s fine with me. Just as long as bill is passed, I don’t care who gets the credit for it.”

Del. Ron Villanueva, R-21st, who is a member of the courts of justice criminal sub-committee, said in an email that the bill would be impossible to enforce.

Another member of that sub-committee, Del. Vivian Watts, D-39th, said the bill had been put aside for further work.

“My opinion of the bill is generally positive,” Watts said. “But, we need to make sure that this is the appropriate way to treat one type of littler compared to another.”

The majority of people do not think about cigarette butts in the same way as a larger piece of litter such as a cheeseburger wrapper, said Jessica Barton, Virginia Grassroots coordinator at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“We find a lot of cigarette butts when we do stream and highway cleanups,”

Barton said. “Anything that washes into the storm drain off of the sidewalks goes straight into the streams and is a direct pollutant. The nicotine leaches into the waterways and researchers have even found traces of nicotine in fish.”

Barton said that she had agreed with Morrissey’s bill and that she had thought it would deter people away from throwing cigarettes on the ground. But there also needed to be a component of education associated with the bill, she said.

“I think there’s a missing link here,” Barton said. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but people need to be educated because they typically don’t think twice about throwing cigarettes on the ground.”
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Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


If the snow last weekend had you stuck at home, then you will appreciate free admission all weekend long at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden! Other free options this weekend include a Classic Family Film series at Varina Library, “Crafternoon” at Libbie Mill Library and the tenth annual Richmond Jewish Food Festival taking place Sunday and Monday at the Weinstein JCC. Concert options include the 8th annual Djangoary Music Soiree at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen and Flight Risk, performing at The Tin Pan. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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Chess Club returns to Twin Hickory Library with Championship Chess RVA from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Chess instruction will take place from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. with free play afterward. There will also be table tennis and board games. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month. For details, call 501-1920 or visit http://www.henricolibrary.org. Full text

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