New state bill could make people who litter do community service

Published: May. 21, 2017 at 9:58 PM CDT
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Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that could cut down on littering.

State Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson, R-Waco, filed HB 1884 which would allow judges to sentence people who are cited for littering with up to 60 hours of community service.

"The intent is that the offender is far less likely to reoffend if they have to perform community service rather than just paying a simple fine," Anderson said while speaking at a committee hearing at the Texas State Capitol.

The bill states people who are cited for littering or illegal dumping would have to pick up trash in the county where they live.

Bruce Huff is passionate about keeping Waco clean, and has spent his free time picking up trash in the community.

He is a veteran diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and he founded a cleanup group called the Group W Bench where volunteers work to beautify public areas that are littered with trash.

"If someone like me can pick up litter, then anybody can," Huff said.

On Thursday Huff went to the Capitol in Austin and gave testimony about why lawmakers should take action on people who litter and the effects that it has on local communities.

"No one seems to be accountable for all the mess they're creating and the environmental hazards they're putting out in front of us," he said.

He hopes the bill will become a law and will make people take littering more seriously. Huff said, "People need to be held accountable, and fines aren't doing it.”

"Every step I take there's trash, of one kind or another. And people don't care, and I want people to care," he added.

HB 1884 passed in the Texas House, and also passed in a Senate committee hearing. “It was 135 to 5 which is an unbelievable reaction to this,” Huff said.

The bill will now go to the Texas Senate for a vote.