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Government, Politics & Issues

Legislator: Limit Metal Theft By Setting Up Task Force

When copper piping like this is stolen, it can be costly to replace.
via Flickr/nectarous

After receiving approval from both the Illinois House and Senate, a bill to form a task force to find solutions for metal theft has been signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner.  It goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

In a statement Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea announced Friday that he would be a member of the task force.

Original story from February 15, 2015:

Illinois Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, has introduced a bill to form a task force of metal theft experts. Together they would work to find long-term solutions. He introduced a similar bill last year that passed in the House but not the Senate.

Hoffman said he is sponsoring the bill because of an increase in metal theft recently in the Metro East — everything from copper lines on utility poles to air conditioner coils and carburetors.

“This legislation would bring law enforcement officials, legislators, representatives from the Illinois Public Utility, rural electric cooperatives and insurance companies to come up with solutions and stop this record high amount of copper theft,” Hoffman explained.

Illinois’s metal theft laws were revised in 2013 to require scrap metal dealers to keep records of who sells them materials and forbidding cash sales for items worth more than $100.

But Hoffman says the laws aren’t working.

“So what we’re trying to do is figure out how we can better communicate between scrap metal dealers, law enforcement, public utilities and residents so that we can provide for means of catching these folks,” Hoffman said.

Some scrap metal dealers have said that too much regulation makes it difficult for them to earn a living. They’ve also questioned how much good a task force would do since the group would talk about changes instead of making changes.

Hoffman has said that the task force would make policy recommendations and he would then act on those recommendations.

Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.

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