New regulations to crack down on scrap metal theft face uphill battle in the Michigan legislature

Jun 17, 2013

State lawmakers will hold another hearing tomorrow on legislation intended to crack down on scrap metal theft in Michigan.

The legislation would require scrap yards to keep better records and ban cash transactions for commonly stolen items, like catalytic converters and copper wire.

Police, prosecutors and larger industries often victimized by scrap metal thieves support the legislation.

But not scrap metal dealers and recyclers, who complain the new regulations would be a burden.

At a hearing last week, Republican state lawmakers expressed doubts about whether the new regulations were attacking the problem in the right way.

“Is this where we’re going….to have businesses do the police work?” asked State Representative Tom McMillin of Rochester Hills.

State Representative Ed McBroom of Norway doubts the legislation would reduce metal theft.

“I don’t really see us eliminating the crime,” McBroom told the committee last week, “We’re just going to move it or shuffle it around.”

The chairman of the House Regulatory Reform committee said last week that the bills still need a lot of work.

Michigan has one of the highest rates of scrap metal theft in the nation.   The Detroit metro area ranks among the top five markets for scrap metal theft.