After a bill in the Rhode Island State Senate seeking to ban smoking at state beaches got stuck in that chamber’s Judiciary Committee last year, Rep. Joseph Shekarchi, D-Warwick, will try to get it through the state’s General Assembly this session.
Shekarchi introduced HB 8081 late last week and it was quickly referred to the House Judiciary Committee. The Public Beach Smoking Pollution Control Act, as it called, would make it illegal for a person to person shall smoke or dispose of a cigarette, cigar, or other tobacco-related product on, or within twenty feet (20′) of any beach under the jurisdiction of the department of environmental management.
Those convicted of a violation would be found guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a mandatory fine of not less than $150 and up to $1,000 upon a first conviction. A second conviction would up the minimum fine to $500, while a third would increase it to $750, again with a maximum of $1,000. The bill does provide for community service as an option for restitution should the fine provide undue financial hardship, however.
Additionally, the court may require a person found guilty of violating the law to pick up litter on state beaches for no less than eight hours.