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Bill promoting litter cleanup advances

A bipartisan bill aimed at helping clean up North Carolina’s roadways passed the House Transportation Committee last week.


The Highway Cleanup Act (HB 100), which was introduced by House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne), provides additional funding for trash pickup, road maintenance, public awareness and litter deterrence and enforcement. Under the bill, a new grant program will be created called “Detainees Clean NC,” which will provide local sheriff’s offices with additional funding to oversee detainee litter cleanup efforts. The overall bill has the support of the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association.

Having received a favorable report in the House Transportation Committee the bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee for further review.

Rep. Jake Johnson, who serves Polk, Henderson, and Transylvania counites, has been a vocal supporter of the bill.

“We are fortunate to live in a beautiful state, and I do not want someone’s first impression of North Carolina to be our roadways covered in trash," he said in a news release. "I am proud to support this bill that aims to clean up our roadways and make sure we are being good stewards of our environment, while doing all we can to promote economic development and tourism. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this passed into law.”

Specifically, the Highway Cleanup Act will:
• Create a new grant program called “Detainees Clean NC” to support local inmate cleanup efforts.
• Provide educational materials to the Conference of District Attorneys to strengthen the enforcement of litter laws.
• Encourage “State Employee Highway Cleanup Days” using available community service leave time to participate in the program.
• Require DOT/contractors to pick up dead animals obstructing roadways within two business days of the report being received.
• Require DOT/contractors to remove trash, debris and litter from the highways and rights-of-way prior to mowing.
• Provide grades 6-8 with an educational video on litter prevention and awareness that emphasizes the environmental detriments of littering and the role of personal responsibility in preventing it.
• Appropriate $250,000 for NCDOT to raise awareness and program participation of their anti-litter programs.
• Direct the Department of Public Safety and DOT to study the feasibility of re-implementing Inmate Litter Crews to assist in picking up litter throughout the State.
• Call on Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight to study litter fines/penalties.
• Require NCDOT to report to oversight committee on the effectiveness of the Litter Management System website and interactive map, including its impacts on participation in litter management programs.