Chapter 294

2007 -- H 5782 SUBSTITUTE A AS AMENDED

Enacted 07/06/07

 

A N A C T

RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- THE DEPARTMENT OF

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

          

     Introduced By: Representative Laurence W. Ehrhardt

     Date Introduced: February 28, 2007

    

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

 

     SECTION 1. Title 42 of the General Laws entitled "STATE AFFAIRS AND

GOVERNMENT" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following chapter:

 

     CHAPTER 17.10

 

ENFORCEMENT OF CERTAIN NATURAL RESOURCE VIOLATIONS

 

     42-17.10-1. Civil Violations Jurisdiction Penalties. -- In order to handle minor

environmental offenses in a fair and expeditious manner, the following environmental offenses

are declared to be civil violations and shall be within the jurisdiction of the Rhode Island traffic

tribunal. Penalties assessed for violations shall correspond to the fines described.

     20-1-12 Fixing of seasons and bag limits $100.00

20-11-20 Fresh water fishing Penalties 100.00

     20-16-17 Prohibition against hunting/killing otter 100.00

     23-22.5-9 Swimming in breachways prohibited not to exceed

      fifty dollars

50.00

     32-2-4 Parks and recreational areas Rules and regulations

      Enforcement Power of director not to exceed

      one hundred

      dollars $100.00

     46-22-19(1) Regulation of boats Penalties not to exceed

      one hundred

      dollars $100.00

 

     42-17.10-2. Form of summons. -- (a) The form of the summons and the complaint

authorized by this section shall be used for all environmental civil violations specified in section

42-17.10-1. The summons and complaint to be issued to an alleged offender shall contain such

information, and be in such form, as may be required by the rules and procedures promulgated by

the chief judge of the district court for the traffic tribunal. Every summons shall provide notice

of: (i) the charge or charges against the individual; and (ii) a date to appear in the traffic tribunal

and answer the charges against him or her.

     (b) The summons may be the same as the summons provided for in section 31-27-12.

The chief of law enforcement of the department of environmental management, the chief

executive officer of any other police department citing persons for environmental civil violations

in accordance with section 42-17.10-1, peace officers and other individuals authorized to enforce

civil violations as stipulated in section 42-17.10-1 shall prepare or cause to be prepared any

records and reports that may be prescribed by the rules of the traffic tribunal.

 

     42-17.10-3. Payment without personal appearance. Any enforcement officer of the

department of environmental management, the chief executive officer of any other police

department citing persons for environmental civil violations in accordance with section 42-17.10-

1, peace officers and other individuals authorized to enforce civil violations as stipulated in

section 42-17.10-1 who charges any person with a civil violation as set forth in section 42-17.10-

1 of this chapter shall, in addition to issuing a summons for the violation, provide the alleged

violator with a form which will allow the violator to dispose of the charge without the necessity

of personally appearing before the traffic tribunal. Penalties assessed in accordance with this

section shall be one hundred dollars ($100) for all violations set forth in section 42-17.10-1,

except for violations of section 23-22.5-9, which shall have a penalty not to exceed fifty dollars

($50.00). This section shall apply to residents and nonresidents alike.

 

     42-17.10-4. Method of payment. If the alleged violator elects to dispose of the charge

without personally appearing before the traffic tribunal, he or she shall execute the form indicated

and return it to the traffic tribunal not later than twenty (20) days from the date of the summons

either by mailing or delivering the form and summons to the violation section of the traffic

tribunal, or to its designee, together with cash, check or money order in the amount indicated by

the fine schedule on the form.

 

     42-17.10-5. Failure to answer or appear. In the event the person charged with a

violation does not pay the fine administratively in accordance with the provisions of section 42-

17.10-3, then he or she shall have waived his or her right to dispose of the violation without

personal appearance, and the person charged with the violation must then appear before the traffic

tribunal on the date specified on the summons. If the person charged with the violation shall fail

to appear on the specified date, a judge or magistrate may enter default judgment, and after

hearing any evidence presented, determine whether the charges have been established. If the

charges are not established, an order dismissing the charges shall be entered. If a determination is

made that a charge has been established, an appropriate order shall be entered in the records of

the traffic tribunal.

 

     42-17.10-6. Hearings. (a) Every hearing for the adjudication of a violation, as provided

by this chapter, shall be held before a judge or magistrate of the traffic tribunal. The burden of

proof shall be upon the state, and no charge may be established except by clear and convincing

evidence. A verbatim recording shall be made of all proceedings. The chief judge may prescribe,

by rule or regulation, the procedures for the conduct of the hearings and for pre-hearing

discovery.

     (b) After due consideration of the evidence and arguments, the judge or magistrate shall

determine whether the charges have been established, and appropriate findings of fact shall be

made on the record. If the charges are not established, an order dismissing the charges shall be

entered. If a determination is made that a charge has been established or if an answer admitting

the charge has been received, an appropriate order shall be entered in the records of the traffic

tribunal.

     (c) An order entered after the receipt of an answer admitting the charge or where a

determination is made that the charge has been established shall be civil in nature, and shall be

treated as an adjudication that a violation has been committed. A judge or magistrate may include

in the order the imposition of any penalty authorized by any provisions of this chapter for the

violation, except that no penalty for it shall include imprisonment.

     (d) A hearing fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) shall be assessed by the traffic tribunal

against each person pleading guilty to or found guilty of the violation. Any person charged with a

violation who pays the fine administratively pursuant to section 42-17.10-3 shall not be subject to

any hearing fee or additional costs or assessments.

     (e) Any party aggrieved by a judgment or order of the traffic tribunal entered pursuant to

the provisions of this chapter may seek further review pursuant to sections 31-41.1-8 and 31-41.1-

9.

 

     42-17.10-7. Violations by juveniles. -- The Rhode Island family court shall retain

exclusive jurisdiction over violations of this chapter involving juveniles.

 

     42-17.10-8. Suspension for failure to pay fine. The Department of Environmental

Management shall immediately suspend all license(s) and registration of a person issued by the

Department, and shall deny access to all services and facilities owned or managed by the

Department, upon certification of a clerk of the traffic tribunal that the person has failed to pay

fines or costs imposed for a violation of any provision of this chapter within the time period

provided for payment by the court. All agencies of the state, shall cooperate and provide any

information requested by the Department of Environmental Management to enforce the

provisions of this section. The suspension(s) shall remain in force until all fines or costs are paid

to the respective courts.

 

     SECTION 2. Section 8-8.2-2 of the General Laws in Chapter 8-8.2 entitled "Traffic

Tribunal" is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

     8-8.2-2. Jurisdiction. -- (a) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law, all

probationary license hearings as provided in section 31-10-26, all violations of the department of

transportation, department of environmental management or board of governors for higher

education regulations regarding parking, standing, or stopping in areas under the jurisdiction of

said agencies, all violations of state statutes relating to motor vehicles, littering and traffic

offenses, except those traffic offenses committed in places within the exclusive jurisdiction of the

United States, and except driving so as to endanger resulting in death, driving so as to endanger

resulting in personal injury, driving while under the influence of liquor or drugs, driving while

under the influence of liquor or drugs resulting in death, driving while under the influence of

liquor or drugs resulting in serious bodily injury, reckless driving and other offenses against

public safety as provided in section 31-27-4, eluding a law enforcement officer with a motor

vehicle in a high speed pursuit, driving after denial, suspension or revocation of license, and

leaving the scene of an accident in violation of section 31-26-1 and section 31-26-2, and driving

without the consent of the owner and possession of a stolen motor vehicle in violation of section

31-9-1 and section 31-9-2, shall be heard and determined by the traffic tribunal pursuant to the

regulations promulgated by the chief judge of the district court; provided, however, the traffic

tribunal shall not hear any parking, standing or stopping violations which occur in any city or

town which has established its own municipal court and has jurisdiction over such violations.

Nothing contained herein shall abrogate the powers of the Rhode Island family court under the

provisions of chapter 1 of title 14.

      (b) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law, the traffic tribunal shall have

concurrent jurisdiction to hear and determine, pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated by

the chief judge of the district court, all violations of any ordinances, rules and regulations

governing the public waters and the speed, management and control of all vessels and the size,

type and location and use of all anchorages and moorings within the jurisdiction of the towns of

North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Portsmouth, Middletown, Narragansett and Tiverton

enforced and supervised by the harbormaster and referred to the traffic tribunal, and the terms

"traffic violations" and "traffic infraction" when used in this chapter shall include the aforesaid

violations and such violations shall be adjudicated in accordance with the provisions of this

chapter. Nothing contained herein shall abrogate the powers of the Rhode Island coastal

management council under the provisions of chapter 23 of title 46.

     (c) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law, the traffic tribunal shall have

jurisdiction to hear and determine, pursuant to rules and regulations promulgated by the chief

judge of the district court, all civil violations for sections 20-1-12, 20-11-20, 20-16-17, 23-22.5-9,

32-2-4 and subsection 46-22-19(1) as set forth in section 42-17.10-1.

 

     SECTION 3. Section 20-1-12 of the General Laws in Chapter 20-1 entitled "General

Provisions" is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

     20-1-12. Fixing of seasons and bag limits. -- (a) The director is authorized to adopt

regulations fixing seasons, bag limits, size limits, possession limits, and methods of taking on any

species of fish, game, bird, or other wild animal occurring within the state, other than marine

species regulated by the marine fisheries council.

     (1) These regulations may prohibit the taking, holding, or possession of any species,

prohibit the taking, molestation, or disturbance in any way of nesting, breeding, or feeding sites

of any species and/or prohibit, control, or regulate any commercial use, importation into the state,

or exportation from the state of any species.

     (2) These regulations may be of statewide applicability or may be applicable in any

specified locality or localities within the state when the director shall find, after investigation, that

the regulations are appropriate.

     (b) Any person who violates any provision of this chapter section or any rule or

regulation made under the provisions of this chapter section shall be guilty of a violation and shall

be subject to a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each violation civil violation and subject to

a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense.

     (c) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law, the district court shall have

exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine all violations specified in this chapter and shall be

afforded those options as provided for in section 46-22-19.2 the traffic tribunal shall have

jurisdiction to hear and determine all violations specified in this section.

     (d) The regulations shall be adopted only after the holding of a public hearing subject to

the provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act, chapter 35 of title 42.

 

     SECTION 4. Sections 20-11-20 and 20-11-21 of the General Laws in Chapter 20-11

entitled "Fresh Water Fishing" are hereby amended to read as follows:

 

     20-11-20. Penalties. -- Any person who violates any provision of this chapter, or who

violates any rule or regulation made under the provisions of this chapter, shall be guilty of a

violation and subject to a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each violation and afforded those

options as provided for in section 46-22-19.2. shall be guilty of a civil violation and be subject to

a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense. Jurisdiction over violations of this chapter

shall be with the traffic tribunal.

 

     20-11-21. Jurisdiction. -- Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law, the district

court traffic tribunal shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine all violations

specified in this chapter.

 

     SECTION 5. Section 20-16-17 of the General Laws in Chapter 20-16 entitled "Fur-

bearing Animals" is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

     20-16-17. Prohibition against hunting or killing otter. -- No person shall hunt, trap,

take, or kill an otter in this state. Any person violating the provision of this section shall be

punished by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense. guilty of a civil violation and

be subject to a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense. Jurisdiction over violations of

this section shall be with the traffic tribunal.

 

     SECTION 6. Section 23-22.5-9 of the General Laws in Chapter 23-22.5 entitled

"Drowning Prevention and Lifesaving" is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

     23-22.5-9. Swimming in breachways prohibited. -- No person shall swim in the

breachway of the Charlestown Pond, or in the breachway of Quonochontaug Pond, or in the

breachway of Weekapaug Pond. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall,

upon conviction, be fined not more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for each offense be guilty of a civil

violation and be subject to a fine, not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00) for each offense.

Jurisdiction over violations of this section shall be with the traffic tribunal. In accordance with

chapter 42-17.10, any person charged with violating any of the provisions of this section may

elect to dispose of the charge without personally appearing before the traffic tribunal by mailing

or delivering the form and summons to the traffic tribunal with a check or money order in the

amount of fifty dollars ($50.00)

 

     SECTION 7. Section 32-2-4 of the General Laws in Chapter 32-2 entitled "Metropolitan

Park District" is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

     32-2-4. Rules and regulations -- Enforcement -- Powers of director. -- (a) The director

of the department of environmental management may make rules and regulations for the control,

government, and use of all the public properties and highways under his or her care., and for

breaches thereof may affix penalties, not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100), and costs for any

one offense, to be imposed in the discretion of the court by any district court, municipal court, or

police court, in the city or town where the breach is made or other court of competent jurisdiction;

and in A person violating the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this section shall be

guilty of a civil violation and be subject to a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100) for

each offense. Jurisdiction over violations of this section shall be with the traffic tribunal. In

accordance with chapter 42-17.10, any person charged with violating the rules and regulations

promulgated pursuant to this section may elect to dispose of the charge without personally

appearing before the traffic tribunal by mailing or delivering the form and summons to the traffic

tribunal with a check or money order in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100). In general, the

director may do all acts needful for the proper execution of the powers and duties granted to and

imposed upon the director by the terms of this chapter. The director shall also have power to

expend such funds as may be given in trust, and the income thereof, in accordance with the terms

of the trusts, as provided for in section 32-2-6.

      (b) Those persons duly authorized by the director of the department of environmental

management to exercise the powers specified in sections 2-10-13, 2-12-8, 2-12-19, 37-15-2,

and/or 46-22-17, may also be commissioned by the director of the department to enforce any

rules or regulations promulgated by the director of the department as applicable to public

properties under his or her care.

 

     SECTION 8. Section 46-22-19 of the General Laws in Chapter 46-22 entitled

"Regulation of Boats" is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

     46-22-19. Penalties. -- In addition to any other penalties specified in this chapter:

      (1) Any person who violates any provision of sections 46-22-3 -- 46-22-5, 46-22-8, 46-

22-9.2, 46-22-10, and 46-22-13, or who violates any rule or regulation made under the provisions

of this chapter those sections shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine not to

exceed one hundred dollars ($100) for each violation. civil violation and be subject to a fine not

to exceed one hundred dollars ($100) for each violation. Jurisdiction over violations of this

subsection shall be with the traffic tribunal. In accordance with chapter 42-17.10, any person

charged with violating any rule or regulation made under the provisions of this subsection may

elect to dispose of the charge without personally appearing before the traffic tribunal by mailing

or delivering the form and summons to the traffic tribunal with a check or money order in the

amount of one hundred dollars ($100).

      (2) Any person who violates any provision of sections 46-22-7 and 46-22-12 shall be

guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed two hundred dollars ($200)

for each violation.

      (3) Any person who violates any provision of sections 46-22-9 and 46-22-9.1 shall be

guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars

($1,000), or imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both for each violation.

 

     SECTION 9. This act shall take effect August 1, 2007.

     

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LC01164/SUB A/2

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