PITTSBURGH A Washington
state congressman plans to introduce new legislation in the
upcoming session regulating the metals recycling industry.
"We have found criminal
penalties are not a deterrent and metal-related crimes are
increasing in spite of the legislation that we have already
enacted," Rep. Roger Goodman (D., Kirkland) told
The lawmakers move stemmed
from a December meeting of the Metal Theft Work Group, which
Goodman chairs and includes scrap metals recyclers, law
enforcement officers, legislators, licensing officials, and
utility and telecom representatives.
"We need a statewide system of
regulation," Goodman said. "Right now, there is a patchwork of
inconsistent laws and regulations that allow firms operating
illegally to shut down and move to the next town."
Goodman has worked on
legislation covering scrap metals since 2007. He sponsored
existing laws that increased reporting requirements and
established a $30 ceiling on cash payments. "We have seen no
improvement in metal theft, and the problem has gotten worse,"
Goodman is mulling comprehensive
changes to existing rules, including banning all cash payments,
requiring scrap buyers to be licensed and redefining "criminal
Another option is to establish a
statewide list of persons banned from selling material.
"Seattle and Tacoma already have good no buy lists,
and this could be done statewide," he said.
There are numerous details to
work out, Goodman said. For one, the work group is trying to
devise a cash ban that wouldnt have a discriminatory
effect on indigent people without checking accounts.
Another concern is financial: If
the state places new requirements on recyclers, its
unclear how enforcement would be funded. "I dont know the
outcome for this because there is a budget deficit, but (we)
are going to try our hardest to solve it," Goodman said.