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Wash. legislators seek to regulate recyclers

Keywords: Tags  scrap metals theft, legislation, State of Washington, ferrous scrap, nonferrous scrap, licensing, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — Washington state legislators have introduced two measures to regulate the scrap industry to try to discourage metal thefts.

H.B.1552, which seeks to expand existing metal theft provisions, would require all metal recyclers and metal suppliers in the state to be licensed, and all licensees would be required to subscribe to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ metal theft alert system. All recyclers would be required to put up a $10,000 surety bond in order to be licensed. Victims of metal thefts due to negligence would be able to seek monetary recovery, with the bond used as collateral.

Under the measure, state law enforcement officials would have permission to inspect scrapyards and their records at any time. Sheriffs and police chiefs would be required to maintain an electronic no-buy list.

The bill also seeks to establish a state metal theft prevention authority to look into the problem of metal thefts, suggest ways to tackle the issue, and develop and implement a plan to do so. Metal recyclers would be appointed to the board.

Scrap haulers would be required to display a license on their vehicles. Vehicles found to be transporting stolen metal could be seized if the owner of the vehicle were aware of the activity. The bill also calls for seizing money and any other items used in a theft. Property also could be seized if the owner is found to be aware that the parcel was being used for metal thefts.

S.B.5413, which focuses on nonferrous metal, would require that nonferrous scrap sellers obtain a permit. The regulation would make the purchase of nonferrous scrap by a scrapyard from anyone without a permit illegal.

The state Senate’s bill also seeks to seize property and vehicles used in metal theft cases, as well as establish a wire-theft task force that would investigate and prosecute wire-theft-related cases.

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