Two bills targeting the growing issue of metal theft have been introduced in the Georgia Senate.
SB 296, was introduced by Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) on Jan. 12 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would make destruction of property valued at more than $3,000 for the purpose of obtaining a variety of non-ferrous metals a felony.
Destruction or mutilation of property valued at less than $3,000 would be considered a misdemeanor.
The bill would make it illegal for metal recyclers to pay in cash for copper, aluminum or catalytic converters.
SB 296 also includes a permitting provision requiring metal recyclers and individuals wanting to transport or sell non-ferrous metal.
(For background information on the situation with metal theft in Georgia, see http://southeastfarmpress.com/equipment/georgia-growers-face-crisis-metal-theft. The problem is also growing in Kentucky. For that story, visit http://southeastfarmpress.com/equipment/farm-equipment-thefts-increasing-kentucky. Besides legislation, other efforts are being made to deter the problem. One such example can be found at http://southeastfarmpress.com/equipment/lindsay-introduces-coppercuff-deter-would-be-thieves).
Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) held a press conference at the state capitol on Jan.19 to raise awareness of metal theft. The event included photos and samples of items that have been stolen for resale in the scrap metal market.
On Jan. 24, Unterman introduced SB 321, a bill similar to legislation passed in South Carolina last year. It would prohibit cash payments for purchases of metal, require permits for recycling centers and persons selling regulated metals and establishes other tracking mechanisms to help law enforcement agencies combat metal theft.