The states are back in session, which means the metals theft laws in your state could be changing soon. ISRI is currently tracking 88 active bills and regulations impacting materials theft, and we've added new tools to help members keep up with the latest developments.
ISRI's State Resources and Tracking page has been revamped with live reports on each state profile page as well as reports for individual commodities and issues, such as scrap metal, materials theft, and reporting. And as always, we'll keep the State Metals Theft Laws Database updated with the latest information as amendments are passed.
Many of the bills in the tracking system reflect an increasing crossover between metals theft requirements on scrap metal purchases and the motor vehicle statute requirements for automotive dismantlers and recyclers. Currently there is no uniformity in how states handle purchases; some specifically include vehicles in their metals theft laws, some exclude them, and some have a mix between the metals theft and motor vehicle statutes with more or less clarity for businesses trying to comply.
Wisconsin SB 246 is supported by members as an attempt to bring some clarity to this problem. SB 246 requires scrap metal processors and dealers who acquire a vehicle for scrap to comply with the same requirements as motor vehicle salvage dealers, and allows a licensed motor vehicle salvage dealer to acquire a motor vehicle with an outstanding security interest if the dealer pays the obligation in full. The bill has passed the Assembly and Senate and is currently awaiting action by the governor.
ISRI members are supporting several other metals theft amendments, including bills in Arizona, Indiana, and Oklahoma. But there are still many states that are seeking onerous amendments. Mississippi recyclers recently defeated Mississippi HB 1454, which would have added to the confusion between metals theft and vehicle statutes by adding vehicles to the scrap metal law with different requirements than the vehicle statutes. New Jersey recyclers are currently facing the return of perennial legislation seeking to completely replace the existing law with new recordkeeping, reporting, payment, and purchase requirements, including banning purchases of scrap metal that aren't delivered in a motor vehicle.
Even when recyclers agree with the statutes, regulations can still leave businesses in a bind. Texas recyclers have been working with the Texas Department of Public Safety to fix regulations that did not reflect the protections for recyclers who unknowingly acquire unexploded ordinance passed in 2017 Texas SB 202. While the initial regulations could leave a recycler open to penalties even if they complied with the statute, after discussing the potential chilling impacts on the industry and compliance with Jim Shapiro, VP/Owner of Austin Metal & Iron Co. and President of the Recycling Council of Texas, the Department has agreed to post a notice that the regulations will not be enforced and begin the repeal process.
If you have any questions or concerns about pending legislation or regulations or the existing scrap metal requirements in your state, you can always access the tracking tools and state metals theft law summaries on the State Resources and Tracking pages or contact Danielle Waterfield.