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Proposed state legislation would double littering fines

Fines for littering would double if a bill approved by the New York State Senate passes the Assembly. The idea is to crack down on the people who dump trash on the side of roads.

It poses driving hazards and costs a lot to remove. And Syracuse-area Sen. John DeFrancisco says litter that lines the highways just looks bad."There's big couches, there's everything. I don't know - everything that should go in the recycle bin or the trash," said the senator.

That's why he proposed the legislation that would raise the fines for littering from $350 to $700 for a first offense and from $700 to $1400 for a second offense.  

"When you have irresponsible citizens, which seem to be growing in number, whether it's littering or something else, you've got to get something to get their attention and make them stop," said DeFrancisco.

Beyond increasing fines, the war on litter in Syracuse has a friend in the city court system, says DeFrancisco.

"The city court judges, as part of the sentence for littering, they don't just require the fines -- whether it's the old fines or the new fines, if this bill passes -- but they require part of the sentence for them to clean up. So they put them in a van and send them around town to clear up the junk that other people have thrown around," said DeFrancisco

Syracuse-area Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli is sponsoring the companion legislation in the Assembly.