new catalytic converter theft bill passes in Olympia---Getty Images
new catalytic converter theft bill passes in Olympia---Getty Images

A few years ago, it was copper wire, now it's catalytic converters. We're referring to the 'choice-de-jour' for those seeking to recycle metal that brings a lot of money.

   State Legislature passes 'stiff' catalytic converter theft bill

HB (House Bill) 1815 spits out a slew of new restrictions on scrap metal businesses, and how converters can be accepted and sold, even what people are paid for them.

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But GOP legislators, including Senator Jeff Wilson (Longview), is disappointed the penalty phase of the law is rather weak.  He and other Republicans wanted more stringent punishments for those who are found to be selling stolen converters.

  Bill limits the amount of money you can get for a converter

Some of the restrictions in the bill include: (from

  • "Prohibits cash payments by scrap metal businesses and vehicle wreckers for transactions involving catalytic converters
  • Creates a Consumer Protection Act violation for facilitating the offer of used catalytic converters for sale without first verifying proof of ownership of the catalytic converter, or failing to retain verified records of ownership of used catalytic converters offered for sale for at least two years.
  • Requires scrap metal businesses engaging in a transaction involving a catalytic converter removed from a vehicle to maintain documentation that the seller’s private metal property was the result of the seller replacing private metal property from a vehicle registered in the seller’s name."

And another requirement in the bill is rather bureaucratic-sounding:

  "Requires the Washington State University to convene a catalytic converter theft workgroup."

It's no secret that whether it's copper wire or catalytic converters, we've seen theft increase over the years, in direct proportion to the increase in drug use, especially narcotics.


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