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Calif. bill seeking scrap fee to help curb theft

Keywords: Tags  metal theft, California, recyclers, legislation, fee, scrap receipts, Brian Nestande, Metal Theft Taskforce funding

NEW YORK — California scrap metal recyclers are eyeing a proposal from a state assemblyman to introduce a fee on scrap metal payments to help fund authorities targeting metal theft.

Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R., 42nd District) has announced his intention to introduce metal theft legislation that he said was designed in consultation with law enforcement and metal recycling companies.

"The legislation will generate funding for law enforcement by assessing a small fee on payments made for scrap metal paid to sellers by metal recycling centers. The proceeds of these will go to a new statewide Metal Theft Taskforce overseen by the California Department of Justice, which will distribute the funds as grants to law enforcement agencies and prosecutors around the state," Nestande’s office said in a statement.

"These funds will also be available to regional law enforcement partnerships. Currently, most local law enforcement agencies do not have the resources or expertise to concentrate on metal theft crimes."

Nestande added that the legislation will enhance a regional database that provides alerts to all scrap metal recyclers within 100 miles when a metal theft is reported, thus helping to prevent metal thieves from stealing in one region and selling in another.

"Our public safety officers are doing the best they can, but without more funding and resources they cannot truly address the problem. I believe this legislation will provide a long-term solution to stop thieves from reducing our communities to scrap metal," Nestande said.

One scrap metal recycler in the state told AMM that his company is monitoring the situation.

"We have yet to see his final language for the bill, but he does reference a 1-percent tax on all recyclers," he said. "We must wait and see if he is going to suggest the imposition of a tax or fee."

A second recycler said the fee would likely be passed on to scrap peddlers.

"This puts another burden on scrap metal dealers and will not stop or slow down metal theft. Most people who sell scrap are small peddlers who make their living doing it," he said. "The only way to stop crime is to increase the penalties."

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