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House, Senate approve new regulations for scrap metal sales

House, Senate approve new regulations for scrap metal sales

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
March 28, 2013

The Idaho Legislature has passed a bill that will impose additional regulations on the sale of scrap metal in the state.

“I have to stand and debate against this,” said Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, after House Bill 241 had been presented to the Senate. “There’s a guy in my area. He never votes for me. But he has a junk yard. I can’t support a bill that would require him to take pictures of everything he sells.”

Despite Schmidt’s plea, the full Senate voted 23-12 in favor of the legislation, which now heads to Gov. Butch Otter for his consideration.

Under current Idaho law, scrap metal dealers are required to obtain a copy of a state-issued photo ID when purchasing scrap metal from a seller. House Bill 241 will increase the regulation of scrap metal sales, requiring dealers to obtain either a photograph or a digital video recording of more than 30 seconds of the items to be sold. Dealers must also obtain identification information about the vehicle being used by the seller with the property, a copy of the license plate of the seller’s vehicle and the property being sold.

Earlier this week, the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee approved the bill and sent it to the full Senate. “We’ve brought this bill because of situations in our area and statewide,” testified Neil Colwell, a lobbyist from Avista, a Spokane-based energy company.

He told the committee that the theft of scrap metal is becoming a costly problem for owners of farms, electric utility plants and other industrial facilities. He even noted a situation where “hundreds of feet of wire” were stolen from the runway at Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle.

“I appreciate the struggles of our farmers,” Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said. “But this adds another regulatory burden for our small, mom-and-pop businesses, some of which are already struggling. I will be voting no.”

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