Lawmakers look to crack down on scrap metal theft
Legislation to crack down on scrap metal theft in Michigan has cleared the state House.
Among other things, the legislation would require scrap dealers to wait three days before paying for certain items that are commonly stolen, such as copper wire and air conditioners. It would also require more paper work for scrap metal sales.
“We are not asking dealers to take on the role of law enforcement,” said state Rep. Paul Muxlow (R-Brown City), who sponsored one of the bills. “Rather, we are simply asking that there be more data collected from sellers so that law enforcement can do their job. And this will give them some extra tools.”
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) has been working on the legislation for more than two years. She says rampant scrap metal theft is destroying many Michigan communities, urban and rural alike.
“For my two sons, it’s the local school and church that are, what my son Adam calls, ‘broken buildings,’ because illegal scrappers have left nothing of value in those buildings,” Tlaib told her colleagues on the House floor Thursday.
The House voted 98-9 to approve House Bill 4593, and 99-8 for House Bill 4595.
All the votes against the bills came from Republicans. They say there are already good laws in place to prevent metal theft – they’re just not enforced.
“We’re really putting the good actors through some additional challenges,” said Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-Mount Pleasant). “And the bad actors, without enforcement, are going to continue to do what they’re going to continue to do.”
The bill now goes to the state Senate.