California Governor Vetoes Metal Theft Bill

California Governor Vetoes Metal Theft Bill

Gov. Brown says enough laws are on the books to properly enforce antitheft policies.

October 7, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Conferences & Events Ferrous Legislation & Regulations Nonferrous
California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed Assembly Bill 841 (AB 841), which would require a scrap metal recycler to pay for the purchase of scrap metal by a check mailed to the seller.

The bill was introduced into the California Assembly Feb. 21, 2013, by Rep. Norma Torres (D). The bill passed the Assembly April 18 and was passed and enrolled in the California Senate Aug. 28, 2013.

In a letter explaining his decision, Brown acknowledged that the theft of nonferrous metals has reached epidemic proportions throughout the United States. Brown pointed out that he had signed four bills in the last year to reduce the level of metals theft. 

“Existing law requires that a seller wait three days before receiving payment for metal materials, a written record of the transaction, the name, driver’s license number, license plate number, thumbprint of the seller and a photograph or video of the seller and the material being sold. How much more do you need?” Brown asked.

Instead, he pointed out, the state should focus more attention on enforcing its existing metal theft laws, including SB 485, which Brown had signed.

In response to Brown’s decision not to sign AB 842 into law, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, D.C., commended the governor for recognizing the need for more enforcement of the state’s current metals theft laws before additional laws that could harm the industry are added to the books.

The legislation would have required scrap dealers to make payments for metals via check through the mail. Brown’s refusal to sign the bill followed a similar response by New Jersery Gov. Chris Christie to metals theft legislation in that state, ISRI writes.

“Gov. Brown correctly pointed out that the problem is not a lack of metals theft laws, but a lack of enforcement,” says Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “Scrap recyclers across the country are working on a daily basis with law enforcement, prosecutors and legislators on ways to reduce thefts. We will continue our efforts to curb these thefts that are harming communities.”

ISRI says it believes the most effective way to address the problem is through a comprehensive strategy focusing first on efforts to prevent metals theft and second on assisting law enforcement and prosecutors in their efforts to catch, prosecute and penalize those who perpetrate these crimes.