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Michigan takes a new stab at tightening scrap laws

Keywords: Tags  nonferrous, scrap metal, Michigan legislation, catalytic converters, copper wire, air conditioners, cemetery markers, Rashida H. Tlaib Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — Michigan metal recyclers are facing a new round of proposed changes to existing scrap laws that could include a cash ban on some items.

Two bills introduced in the state House would update nonferrous scrap regulations to include all scrap metal and require all transactions to include a photograph of the load, as well as the name of the scale operator or employee who authorized the purchase. Industrial and commercial accounts already on file with a recycler would be exempt from the requirements.

The proposed legislation also would mandate that catalytic converters, air conditioners and copper wire transactions be paid by check, and customers who are not industrial or commercial businesses would have to wait three days for payment. The legislation also would make it illegal to buy public fixtures, new metal, cemetery markers or property stamped and clearly owned by a railroad or utility.

Meanwhile, a third bill would expand the penal code to include all scrap metal. Theft of material valued at less than $1,000 would result in a misdemeanor charge; thefts over that amount would be felony charges.

A local recycler said that scrapyards were consulted on whether the changes would be feasible, practical and positive, and indicated that scrapyards were comfortable with the proposals.

"For nearly two years, I have been working with my colleagues, state and local police, the governor’s office and people from the scrap metal industry to create reasonable regulations to stop illegal scrapping. The lack of these necessary reforms has led to thousands of dollars lost," said state Rep. Rashida H. Tlaib (D., Detroit), sponsor of the bills.

Tlaib said Michigan ranks No. 2 in the country for insurance claims related to scrap metal theft.

An effort to stiffen scrap metal laws in the previous year’s congressional session did not result in any changes (, March 20, 2012).

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