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.”
Michael Arad, the architect of the World Trade Center Memorial, will be the keynote speaker for The 2016 Adolf-Adams JCC Forum on Sat., Jan. 30, 2016 at 7:30 p.m., at the Carole and Marcus Weinstein Jewish Community Center in Henrico.
Arad’s “Reflecting Absence” architectural design was selected from more than 5,000 competitive entries as the template for the Memorial’s construction in New York City. During the forum, Arad will discuss the significance and symbolism of the design, as well as his inspiration. The event, which is a highlight of the Weinstein JCC’s Patron of the Arts series, is open to the public > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 12/15/2015
The Sixth Annual RVA Environmental Film Festival (RVA EFF) will be held Feb. 1-7, 2016 at various locations, including in Henrico County.
A partnership of The Enrichmond Foundation, Capital Region Land Conservancy, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and Falls of the James Group - Sierra Club, the festival will feature a number of insightful films designed to raise awareness of environmental issues relative to all residents of the planet and Richmond citizens in particular.
A detailed schedule will be released at a time closer to the festival, but the popular children's portion has been set for Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Byrd Theatre in Carytown. > Read more.
Start celebrating Valentine’s Day a little early with Susan Greenbaum at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. She will present “An Evening of Love Songs.” Other fun events this weekend include Henrico Rec & Parks’ 30th annual One Act Showcase; “The Lego Movie” playing at the Henrico Theatre (tickets are only $!); and Robin and Linda Williams who will be performing at the Shady Grove Coffeehouse. And homeowners will really appreciate the free Home Improvement Seminar taking place at Harvie ES. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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