National Conference of State Legislatures weighs in on federal metals theft legislation

ISRI also opposes federal metal theft legislation.

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The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, says it agrees with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which has come out against Congressional attempts to introduce a federal solution to combat metal theft.

The NCLS sent a letter earlier this month to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, stating that a federal metals theft law “may preempt some state laws and hinder the work that is underway in the states to battle this problem.”

ISRI President Robin Wiener says, “A federal metals theft law is simply unnecessary since all 50 states have already enacted metals theft legislation. Recyclers across the country have worked closely with law enforcement and elected officials to pass strong legislation to effectively address the specific needs of their communities. A federal law would only add a layer of complexity and confusion for federal, state and local law enforcement, prosecutors and recyclers.”

Senate Bill 394 was introduced in the 113th Congress in an effort to reduce metals theft. It contained a number of provisions in conflict with state laws while adding a layer of bureaucracy and creating to confusion for stakeholders, ISRI says. No bill has yet been introduced this Congress, but an attempt was recently made to use similar language as part of an amendment offered to the National Defense Authorization Act, the association reports.

In response to this move, NCSL issued its letter June 11, 2015, that mentioned a number of its concerns, including the use of uniform standards. According to the letter, “The current state laws regarding metal theft contain differences, but do so in order to address each state’s particular needs. Uniform standards may lead to confusion rather than clarity regarding whether state or federal laws apply. This may hinder the progress made in enforcing metal theft on a state-by-state basis and may also have a negative effect upon prosecution efforts.”