Councilor Testifies For Tougher Fines for Illegal Dumpers in Lawrence

LAwrence City Councilor Marc Laplante (foreground) tells the legislature why Lawrence needs higher fines for those caught illegally dumping.
Lawrence City Councilor Marc Laplante (foreground) tells the legislature why Lawrence needs higher fines for those caught illegally dumping. Sitting next to Laplante is State Rep. Marcos Devers, DPW Director John Isense and Pat Ruis from Lawrence’s Inspectional Services Department. 

By: Tom Duggan – July 14, 2015

BOSTON – Lawrence City Councilor Marc Laplante was on Beacon Hill Tuesday testifying for passage of his legislation to increase fines for illegal dumping in Lawrence.

If passed, House Bill 1258 would let the City of Lawrence increase the maximum fine for illegal dumping from $300, to between $5,000 and $10,000. The legislation also would charge illegal dumpers for the city’s cost to clean illegal dumping sites. All of the money collected by the city will go into a dedicated fun which would be used exclusively to fight illegal dumping in Lawrence.

“People are sick and tired of seeing illegal dumping, and materials strewn strewn throughout the city. It aggravates them that their property and their city is being trashed. This legislation will help provide the tools and resources to catch the individuals who are doing the illegal dumping. And perhaps even more importantly, deter the dumping from happening initially,”  Laplante told The Valley Patriot.

“The beauty behind this legislation is that we are not relying on any state money to make this work. This is purely a city driven, self-sustaining program that will tackle the illegal dumping problem in Lawrence,” Laplante said.  

Councilor Laplante wrote the measure two years ago and says he modeled it after a similar measure passed by the City of Worcester. “I noticed that they were able to get a home rule petition passed that provided them these tools. I thought this would be a good tool for us to sue to fight the illegal dumping in Lawrence.”

In the past two legislative sessions the bill was reported favorably out of House subcommittees but wasn’t acted upon by the full legislature prior to the session ending.

This year, Laplante says he is optimistic his house bill will pass, saying he is getting a lot of help from Lawrence’s State Representatives. Both Representative Marcos Devers (D-Lawrence) and Frank Moran (D-Lawrence) testified in favor of the illegal dumping penalties Tuesday, alongside DPW Director John Isensee, and Pat Ruis from  Lawrence Inspectional Services Department. 

Before reaching the legislature, Laplante’s proposal was approved unanimously by the Lawrence City Council and signed by Mayor Dan Rivera.