I decided to write a series of vignettes on various laws that affect us living on or near the Reservoir. I recently reviewed political sign laws and transient vendor laws. A quick survey around the office indicated a couple of more law ideas, one of which I tackle today. A recent commentor asked that I review the legality of the used car lot in front of everyone's favorite Old Fannin Road pawn shop. I believe I will. Stay tuned. Today, we discuss litter on a statewide and local level.
Miss. Code Ann. s 97-15-29 is the basic law regarding the prohibition of littering on public roadways and private property. Subsection 1(a) makes it a crime to throw (generally) anything that could create a fire hazard (for example, specifically, cigarette butts) onto the roadways or private property. In addition to any civil liability the offender may face due to damage caused, they are criminally liable for a misdemeanor. Subsection 1(b) holds the same for the dumping of animal carcasses.
The penalty for any violation shall be no less than $50, and no more than $250. Further, the offender can be required to experience the indignity of being forced to remove "the unlawfully discarded solid waste," perform community service (by picking up others' trash), and/or paying all regulatory expenses incurred by the prosecutorial agency (read: court costs).
For repeat offenders, the fines double.
The driver of the vehicle from which the litter or carcass is thrown may be liable as well, whether or not he or she actually generated the litter.
Miss. Code Ann. s 97-27-9 concerns littering on established beaches. "Established beaches" are defined as natural or man made beaches along the coastline or inland lake, i.e., any sand bar on the Rez. Litter, as defined by this statute is limited to cans, bottles, or debris of any kind "that might cause injury to barefoot persons". A violation of this statute is a considered a misdemeanor and is limited to a $20 fine. Curiously, this statute does not appear to cover navigable waterways such as rivers or streams. I'm betting there is a Federal law against that.
Miss. Code Ann. s 97-15-31 makes it a misdemeanor crime to knowingly, willfully, or carelessly place glass, tacks, nails, or like substances on any public road or sidewalk. If not immediately removed, the offender can be fined between $5 and $100 for each offense and be liable for double actual damages.
There are many, many more state laws related to litter. I only hit the highlights here. These are the ones most pertinent to us. Take a look at this resource for more information.
The City of Flowood
The City of Flowood does not have any ordinances online related to litter. State laws apply within the municipality; however, if the City wanted to create a stronger penalty, they have the express authority so to do.
Pearl River Valley Water Supply District
The PRVWSD has a specific ordinance on litter. Paragraph 3.6 of the Regulations of the PRVWSD make it unlawful for anyone to dump, leave or abandon any trash in the public areas, including boat ramps, roadways, parks, the water, etc. This regulation applies to corporations as well. In other words, an entire company can be liable for a violation of its employee who litters while on the job. It is further a misdemeanor to leave trash within 60 feet of PRV property. The bulk of Paragraph 3.6 deals with the prevention of dumping sewerage into the waters, and the right of the PRVWSD to inspect all watercraft to determine proper sewerage control.
Violation of Paragraph 3.6 is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.00.