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House Bill 142 — Scrap dealers, catalytic converters

House Bill 142 — Scrap dealers, catalytic converters

Parrish Miller
February 15, 2023

Bill Description: House Bill 142 would require scrap metal businesses to keep detailed records about their purchases of catalytic converters. It would also preempt any local governments from imposing similar regulations.

Rating: -1

NOTE: House Bill 142 was amended in the House to remove the state preemption portion of the bill. This amendment changes the rating of the bill from (0) to (-1).

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?

Idaho law includes very intrusive regulations for scrap metal businesses and the people who do business with them. In most transactions, the dealer must obtain a copy of the seller's driver's license and the license plate number of the seller's vehicle. Sellers must also provide their name, street address, and a signed declaration that what they are selling is not stolen. There are additional regulations when the seller is a business. 

Even more troubling, these detailed sales records must be provided by the scrap metal business to "any commissioned law enforcement officer of the state or any of its political subdivisions" who requests the records. It should be noted here law enforcement is not required to obtain a warrant first. 

House Bill 142 would amend Section 54-2701, Idaho Code, to add "rhodium," "palladium," and "catalytic converters" to the long list of items subject to these regulations when they (or some product containing them) are sold to a scrap metal business. 


House Bill 142 would create Section 54-2709, Idaho Code, to establish state preemption for the regulation of scrap metal businesses. It would say, "This chapter and its provisions are of statewide concern and occupy the whole field of regulation regarding scrap metal businesses, scrap metal processors, scrap metal recycling centers, scrap metal suppliers, and scrap metal transactions to the exclusion of all local ordinances or regulations. No ordinance or regulation of any political subdivision may prohibit or in any way attempt to regulate any matter provided for in this chapter."

While this provision would not limit any of the state's intrusive regulations or address the problem of allowing law enforcement warrantless access to records that compromise individual privacy, it would prevent local jurisdictions from imposing even more regulations on these already overregulated businesses.


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