Childrenís Breathing Rights Act

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Feb. 10, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Senator Martha Escutia (D–Los Angeles) has introduced SB 1205 – The Children’s Breathing Rights Act.  This bill would raise the fines for specified air pollution violations (potentially including misdemeanors) from non-vehicular sources from a maximum of $1,000 to $10,000 per day, or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months, or both, effective on or after June 1, 2007.  It would eliminate certain affirmative defenses and civil liability provisions and would assess an additional civil penalty of not more than $100,000 per day per violation committed by a serious and chronic violator.   

Furthermore, the bill would require the State Air Resources Board to define by regulation the term "serious and chronic violator" by March 1, 2007.

The money collected from the fines would be used for specific purposes: 50 percent to children health initiatives, 25 percent to enforce the new fines, and 25 percent to the district where the offense occurred to enhance the system, thus creating a bounty hunter-like provision.

The author and sponsor of the bill believe that current fines are only "a minor inconvenience" to polluting companies that budget for the fines as an operating expense.

This bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for now, but will also come before the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.  SB 1205 is sure to make CMTA’s Environmental Quality Committee’s list of the "Top 25" worst bills of the session.
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