By Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro)
ATLANTA (May 29, 2012) – Georgia has now joined 18 other states that have passed bills on scrap metal theft over the last two years according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Secondary metal theft has quickly become an epidemic that necessitates a fast and effective response. With Gov. Nathan Deal’s signature on House Bill 872 on April 16, 2012, this has been the fourth time state lawmakers have revisited the issue in five years, and we hope the last.
This crippling crime has stolen the livelihoods of local businesses across Georgia, including the 23rd Senate District, which is why I helped co-sponsor this legislation. My constituents have shared their metal theft stories that have robbed them of not only copper or other metals but also cost them thousands in repair expenses they cannot afford. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy has found that the damage from a theft of just $100 in copper wire can cost a utility more than $5,000 to repair.
The collaboration from 85 statewide organizations and many state and local officials have contributed to this new law that will comprehensively revise secondary metal recycling laws to protect individuals’ and businesses’ best interests. Members of the “metal theft coalition” included government agencies, public utilities, farm industries, automobile industries, grocery chains, railroads, churches, and cemetery/funeral home associations.
New standards will be enforced starting July 1, 2012, in order to sell secondary metals, excluding batteries:
- A scanned or photocopied ID and permits will be required for fixed site recycling centers (a location where the business of metal recycling occurs – regardless of ownership or lease — for more than 364 days)
- A clear digital photograph or video image of the metal and the seller
- Complete a sworn statement by the seller stating that he or she is the rightful owner of the property or is entitled to sell it
- No Cash reimbursements; checks and electronic fund transfers for personal payment
- Creation of statewide database by local law enforcement and Georgia Bureau of Investigation to track metals sellers and purchasers
Lawmakers have progressively strengthened restrictions on the selling of scrap metal in correlation with the steady increase of stolen metal incidences across the state. In a chain of events, Senate Bill 203 was enacted in 2007 to further criminalize actions of stolen metals from a misdemeanor to a felony, and Senate Bill 82 became law in 2009 to further restrict the form and timing of payment for scrap metal. In 2011, steps were again taken to address the growing problem with House Bill 269 that revised the scrap vehicle requirements. This year, my colleagues and I have combined the previous efforts into a comprehensive package that addresses multiple areas of concern.
HB 872 will try and prevent metal theft from the beginning to the end of the process, with tighter restrictions on the seller to the purchaser. My hope is that these new measures will halt the growing trend of stolen metal and protect our hardworking citizens from this debilitating crime.
It continues to be my honor to serve the 23rd Senate District. Please contact me with your concerns via e-mail, phone or Face Book so together we can find solutions to your problems.
For Immediate Release:
May 29, 2012
For Information Contact:
Natalie Dale, Director
Kate Greer, Broadcast Specialist