BOSTON –Representative David K. Muradian, Jr. (R-Grafton), recently joined with his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass legislation seeking to curb the theft and re-sale of private and municipally-owned property by imposing new licensing and record-keeping requirements on secondary metals dealers.
The bill, approved by a vote of 152-0, requires secondary metals dealers to be registered and licensed through their local municipality on an annual basis. In addition to maintaining a daily log of all transactions for up to one year, dealers would also be required to secure proper identification from individuals selling scrap metal, along with a written statement from the seller indicating they have lawful possession of the items being offered for sale.
“For too long a black market for thieves seeking to make a quick profit from the sale of stolen scrap metal has been able to thrive in Massachusetts,” stated Representative Muradian. “This bill imposes some much-needed oversight on the industry that not only will hold scrap metal dealers to a higher standard, but will also prevent private property damage as well as help cities and towns to crack down on the theft of municipal property.”
Secondary metals dealers would be required to obtain a Massachusetts or state-issued photo ID from all individuals selling secondary metals, or a federal employer ID number if the seller is a business. For all transactions, dealers would be required to record the name, date of birth and address of the seller; a description of the items sold, including the weight, quantity and price paid for the metals; the date and time of the transaction; the license plate and state of issue for the vehicle used to transport the metals; and a written statement attesting to the seller’s lawful possession of the items being sold.
The bill also outlines a list of prohibited items that cannot be accepted by a secondary metals dealer unless they are presented for sale by an authorized contractor of a manufacturer, municipality, government entity or utility company. Scrap metal dealers who knowingly purchase prohibited metals would be subject to a fine of up to $500 for a first offense, up to $1,000 for a second offense, and up to $2,000 for a third or subsequent offense. Additional fines would be imposed against dealers who are not properly registered, or who fail to maintain proper records. The bill also includes a “tag and hold” provision that would require a scrap processor or recycling facility to hold items that have been reported stolen for 48 hours upon notification by law enforcement authorities. All records must be made available for inspection by state and local police upon request.
In addition, the bill directs the Commissioner of Banks to implement a 2-year pilot program establishing a Massachusetts Abandoned Property Registry (MAP). Property owners would be required to register vacant or foreclosing properties or face a fine of up to $3,000 for each offense. This pilot program would take effect 90 days after the commissioner promulgates the rules and regulations necessary to implement the MAP registry.
The bill now heads to the Senate for further action.