WA State Leads Nation in Catalytic Converter Theft
A Washington state legislator says shocking stats from a national survey show legislators didn't do enough when it comes to curbing the theft of catalytic converters.
Senator Jeff Wilson says WA worst in the nation in convert theft.
GOP leader Jeff Wilson (Vancouver) said Monday the legislature actually did its job in passing House Bill 1815, which placed significant new requirements on the recycling of catalytic converters to scrap and wrecking hards, as well as metal recycling facilities.
The bill does impose the following new requirements (from Wilson's news release Monday, June 13th):
"...(it) imposes strict requirements on scrapyards and wreckers that purchase used catalytic converters, to prevent them from entering legitimate retail channels. Among them, purchasers must check and record seller IDs and proof of ownership, and cash payments on the spot are prohibited. Violations are a misdemeanor, with a fine of $1,000 per converter."
However, Wilson says Democratic legislators did not sign off on a $2 million dollar grant that would have helped fund expanded law enforcement efforts to curb theft, and they did not approve of increasing the penalties for converter-related crimes.
Instead, possible increases in jail time for converter theft and illegal recycling were "kicked" to a committee that will be studying the issue with a report due to the legislature in January 2023. Wilson says just like the new police "reform" laws, not enough was done to deter this still-growing problem. And, not enough was done to help law enforcement crack down on the issue.
Although the new laws are going into effect, we are already seeing a new problem growing as well, at least in the Columbia Basin, the theft of tractor and farm implement weights, and balance ballast.
Many experts say the converter theft, and now tractor weight theft, is related to the growing drug problem in our region, especially involving fentanyl.
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