A new bill currently under consideration by the New Jersey State Legislature would require grocery shoppers to pay for paper and plastic bags. The bill, which is slated to go into effect on June 1, 2017, would add a five cent charge to every plastic or paper bag used by shoppers to carry their purchases. The store selling the bags and the state Division of Taxation would each receive one cent of this fee and the remaining three cents would go toward the Healthy Schools and Community Lead Abatement Fund, which tests lead levels in drinking water. Storeowners would be required to provide customers with a tally of the total number of bags sold and the amount paid for them.
The bill would be accompanied by a program from the Department of Environmental Protection to provide information about the harmful effects of paper and plastic bags. Advocates claim this bill is important as it would both protect the environment by reducing litter and work towards remedying toxic levels of lead in drinking water.
New Jersey law prohibits any individual from throwing, dropping, discarding, or otherwise placing litter on public or private property. In New Jersey, littering is a petty disorderly persons offense. Although not a serious as felonies, disorderly persons offenses are still crimes and will result in a criminal record for offenders. In addition, a person who litters faces fines of up to $500 and may be forced to serve 20 to 40 hours of community service. Repeat offenders face fines of up to $1,000, 40 to 80 hours of community service, and up to 60 days behind bars.
If you or a loved one has been cited for littering or for any other criminal offense in New Jersey, contact an attorney for help. Adam H. Rosenblum of the Rosenblum Law Firm is a skilled criminal defense attorney with experience helping people in similar situations. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-979-7551 today for a free consultation about your case.