Increased fines and public shaming proposed for illegal dumpers

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Increased fines and public shaming proposed for illegal dumpers
Illegal dumping (Photo by Mike Kinney)

Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) and Contra Costa Supervisor Diane Burgis today announced the introduction of a state bill that would raise fines on illegal dumping of commercial quantities up to $5,000 upon first conviction, up to $10,000 on second conviction, and up to $20,000 on third or subsequent conviction.

In addition, the legislation called AB 2374 “will give judges discretion to require the convicted to pay for the removal of their illegal dumping, suspend the business license of any individual convicted of dumping waste connected to their business, and allow for that person’s name and name of the business to be publicly displayed as convicted of illegal dumping,” according to the Assemblymember’s office.

The bill, a response to “out of control” dumping of trash, furniture, mattresses, appliances and toxic materials in both urban and rural areas, builds upon legislative efforts by Bauer-Kahan in 2019 providing funding to the East Bay counties to establish a pilot program for additional enforcement of illegal dumping in both counties.

“This program has been successful, but more tools in the arsenal to fight illegal dumping are necessary,” according to the Assemblymember’s office. “Policies like increased enforcement, street lighting, and cameras throughout the East Bay region have also helped, however, California still lacks sufficient penalties to deter people from this harmful behavior.”

Stiffer penalties aim to further deter the illegal practice.

“By upping the fines and providing tools for the courts to publicly hold violators accountable for committing these acts, we disincentivize actors and create public knowledge on who not to work with,” said Bauer-Kahan. “I want to thank Contra Costa County for bringing this bill idea to my attention and look forward to getting it implemented statewide.”