"We've had people laugh when the judge tells them he will impose 'the maximum fine of $50,'" said Jack W. Hyder Jr., city attorney for Bristol, Tenn. "If the $50 fine limitation is lifted, our code enforcement efforts would be enhanced.
In municipal court these cases can be handled swiftly and, in most cases, the prospect of a much higher fine would serve as an incentive to comply."
Until recently, municipalities were setting fines higher than $50, but a recent court ruling returned fines to the 1796 level.The Tennessee Supreme Court
ruled that municipal fines or penalties in excess of $50 violate the state constitution if the purpose of the fine is to punish the violator rather than to remedy the damage caused by the violation.
"Voters must seize this opportunity to make an enormous impact on Tennessee's neighborhoods, business districts and families.