Michigan Senate passes scrap metal bill - KMSP-TV

Michigan Senate passes scrap metal bill

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LANSING, Mich. -- The state Senate followed the House's lead and overwhelmingly approved a bill Thursday to tighten rules in the scrap metal market.

The vote came after legislators compromised over how to regulate sales of the most-stolen items -- copper wire, air conditioners and catalytic converters.

Scrapyards will only buy those items by mailing a check or debit card to sellers unless the payment is under $25.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the passage of House Bill 4593 is "great news."

Yet others say the bill is a good start, but not enough

"The bad operators will use these loopholes to take in tons of copper piping because that's not specifically talked about, so you're going to have flooded schools and homes still because that's able to be stripped without coming into this database," says Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard.

The bill requires scrap yards take pictures of their customers that will be added to a new database the state has yet to create, or outline how it will be paid for. The most talked about part of the bill will change the way scrappers get their money. But the sheriff says there are ways around mailing that money, too.

"[The bill] also has a $25 threshold which means a lot of these things suddenly will be worth $24.99, and it also doesn't get specific as to whether it's per visit, which means you go back to your car, come back in," says Bouchard.

The bill devalues the items that are most commonly scrapped today but leaves other obvious scrapper favorites like copper piping which Boushard says could lead to a spike in copper theft.

Gov. Rick Snyder released this statement:

"Governor Rick Snyder offered the following statement about the passage of a bill addressing the theft and illegal sale of metals.
"Metal theft is a problem that affects the safety of our communities, and the bill approved in the Legislature today creates more tools for law enforcement to fight these destructive crimes.
"We cannot allow thieves to continue to damage our homes, farms, utilities and public property. But more importantly, by damaging safety items such as street lights and traffic signals, these criminals are putting our residents at risk and hurting our quality of life. That's unacceptable.
"We've been working with partners in the Legislature from both sides of the aisle on this important issue for two years. The bill approved today includes common sense reforms that provide tools to help police crack down on the thefts, and also make it more difficult for people to quickly and easily sell stolen metals - especially copper wiring and pipes, catalytic converters and air conditioners."
HB 4593 is linked part of a package of bills addressing the issue, with companion legislation signed into law in December.
Gov. Snyder called for the legislation in his January State of the State address, and first discussed the problem during his special message on public safety, delivered in Flint in March 2012. That comprehensive plan focused on four cities hardest-hit by crime, but also included measures aimed at protecting Michiganders across the state."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan released this statement Wednesday when the bill passed the House:

"Today's passage of HB 4593 is great news for Detroit and every other community that has struggled with the issue of illegal scrappers. Not only does it create an important paper trail for law enforcement, it removes many of the incentives, such as immediate cash payment, that have made it all too easy for scrappers to profit from the dismantling of our city.

This version of the bill gives us everything we asked for and is a great example of the kind of bi-partisan cooperation I expect we will see more of going forward. Speaker Jase Bolger deserves a great deal of credit for his leadership in getting this important legislation through the House, as do Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Sen. Virgil Smith and the rest of our Detroit delegation, as well as Rep. Paul Muxlow. We're confident the Senate will concur with the changes made in the House and pass the bill tomorrow. We anticipate that Gov. Snyder will sign it as soon as Friday."


Copyright 2014 by myFOXDetroit.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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