ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A bill in the Maryland House of Representatives would dramatically increase the maximum fine for putting an unauthorized commercial sign within the right-of-way of state highways.

HB481, sponsored by Delegate Robin Grammer, Jr., would increase the maximum penalty a person could face for putting a sign along a highway from $25 to $1,000, a 40-fold increase. The bill would also allow highway crews and law enforcement to remove and destroy the signs.

Grammer, a Republican representing part of Baltimore County, introduced similar legislation last year. A fiscal analysis of that bill found that state officials generally don’t pursue the existing penalty because of the large cost to collect a small amount of money, but the increased penalty would make the State Highway Administration “likely to more proactively pursue violators to collect civil penalties.”

Despite that, the bill got an unfavorable report by the House’s environment and transportation committee and never made it to the full House for a second reading.

If approved, the bill would take effect on October 1 with a three-month warning period for offenders.

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