Assembly Bill 2374 by Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) passed the Senate and was sent to Governor Gavin Newsom for his consideration. AB 2374 strengthens fines against those caught illegally dumping garbage and waste, provides judges with flexibility to add penalties against the violator, and creates accessible public information for consumers regarding which companies are acting illegally.
“Individuals who engage in illegal dumping jeopardize the health of our communities and environment,” said Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. “It is time we hold accountable these violators who blatantly disregard any repercussions, to ensure Californians can live in clean, garbage-free neighborhoods.”
This bill builds upon previous legislative efforts of Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan and Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in 2019. These efforts provided funding to the counties of Alameda and Contra Costa to establish a pilot program for additional enforcement of illegal dumping laws in both counties. While this program has been successful, more tools are needed to combat illegal dumping.
AB 2374 raises fines for illegal dumping of commercial quantities of refuse by a person employing more than 10 full-time employees. Fines are increased to up to $5,000 upon first conviction, up to $10,000 on a second conviction, and up to $20,000 on third or subsequent conviction. Additionally, this bill will give judges discretion to require the convicted individuals and companies to pay for the removal of their illegal dumping. It also requires notification of the applicable licensing or permitting entity that a licensee or permittee has been convicted of illegal dumping. The licensing board will be able to record and post the conviction on the public profile of the offender to hold them accountable and so that the public may act knowledgeably.
“Sadly, communities throughout California have been subject to the scourge of illegal dumping for far too long. Illegal dumping contributes to a loss of community pride, discourages investment and development, decreases property values, damages the environment, and increases a community’s vulnerability to crime. Thanks to the leadership of Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan, AB 2374 gives us more tools to deter illegal dumping by increasing penalties and consequences for those convicted.”
“By upping the fines and providing tools for the courts to publicly hold violators accountable for committing these acts, we disincentive bad actors and create public knowledge on who not to work with,” said Bauer-Kahan. “I want to thank Contra Costa County for its support and for bringing this bill idea to my attention.”
This bill has enjoyed a broad range of support including Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, Vice President who has been an instrumental leader in this area, California District Attorneys Association, Contractors State License Board, City of Dublin, City of Livermore, and Rural County Representatives of California.
AB 2374 passed the Senate floor 37 to 0. The bill is co-authored by Senator Glazer (D-Orinda).