The House Natural Resources Committee passed a bill that would result in a $300 fine for anyone caught throwing a cigarette butt out the car window.

The author of the measure, Marrero Rep. Patrick Connick, said he wants to send a message that this behavior is a serious problem.

"There is a real need to make people aware this a litter problem, and we need to do what we can to stop it," Connick said.

The normal fine for littering is $250. Connick's bill would impose a $300 fine for a first offense of littering with a cigarette butt, plus community service. Connick said littering with cigarette butts creates a multitude of issues.

"It may be small, but a cigarette butt is still litter," Connick said. "Don't just throw it out and let some else pick it up. Don't trash our state."

Under the bill, each occurrence of littering with a cigarette butt constitutes a separate violation.