NEW YORK A bill proposed
this week aimed at curbing metal thefts nationally will create
"redundancy and confusion" by duplicating existing state-based
laws, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling
The Metal Theft Prevention
Actintroduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) and
co-sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Chuck
Schumer (D., N.Y.)requires scrap metal dealers to keep
records of secondary metals purchases for two years and make
them available to law enforcement agencies, as well as
requiring scrap metal purchases in excess of $100 to be made by
check instead of cash.
Crucially, however, the bill
doesnt override laws enacted at the state or local
One new provision is the
designation of certain types of metals theft as a federal
crime, punishable with up to 10 years in a federal prison.
ISRI assistant vice president
and chief lobbyist Mark Reiter told AMM that while the
association is encouraged by the inclusion of the federal crime
provision, the trade group is unable to support the bill as it
contains "duplicative and redundant" provisions for
documentation and cash thresholds.
"Our position is that given 49
states have enacted laws which require such documentation, and
26 states have cash threshold requirements, it was not
necessary to repeat them," he said.
Duplicating such provisions
would create "redundancy and confusion," Reiter said.
"Weve been pursuing an
effective bill. We would like to have one. But we dont
want a bill that would be ineffective or cause more problems,"
ISRI director of political and public affairs William Johnson
ISRI and Klobuchars office
had been working together on the bill for more than a year,
Reiter said, adding that ISRI had noted its concerns.
ISRI had been pushing for a
"thieves only" bill, he said, noting that the association would
have supported the bill if it was condensed to only include the
"federal crime" provision.
Johnson described this provision
as a "deterrent" for scrap metals thieves, and recyclers would
be able to "scare" thieves by erecting signs listing the
penalties for such crimes.
ISRI had been pushing for the
bill to permit recyclers to use ATM-style machines that
dispense cash, while also photographing scrap peddlers for
inclusion in transaction records, Reiter said. This hasnt
been included in the current bill.
didnt respond to requests for comment. Previous scrap
metals theft bills introduced by Klobuchar and Schumer have
failed to make it through the committee stage (
amm.com, Dec 10, 2009).