A Washington state lawmaker says shocking statistics from a national poll show lawmakers haven’t done enough to curb catalytic converter theft.
Senator Jeff Wilson says WA is worst in the nation at convert stealing.
BeenVerified just released a new study showing converter theft in the state of WA is up 10,000 percent since 2019.
GOP leader Jeff Wilson (Vancouver) said Monday the legislature had actually done its job by passing House Bill 1815, which introduced significant new requirements for catalyst recycling to scrap and scrap and metals recycling facilities.
The bill introduces the following new requirements (from Wilson’s press release dated Monday, June 13):
“…(it) imposes strict requirements on scrapyards and scrappers who buy used catalytic converters to prevent them from entering legitimate retail channels. Among other things, buyers must verify and record seller IDs and proof of ownership, and on-site cash payments are prohibited.” Violations are a misdemeanor subject to a $1,000 fine per converter.”
However, Wilson says Democratic lawmakers failed to sign a $2 million grant that would have helped fund expanded law enforcement efforts to curb theft, and she Not advocate increasing penalties for converter-related offenses.
Instead, possible prison sentence extensions for converter theft and illegal recycling have been “thrown” to a committee that will investigate the issue with a report due in January 2023 by the legislature. Just like the new police laws, Wilson says “reform” doesn’t do enough to prevent this still-growing problem. And not enough has been done to help law enforcement crack down on the problem.
Although the new laws are taking effect, we are already seeing a new problem, at least in the Columbia Basin, theft of tractor and farm equipment weights and ballast.
Many experts say that the theft of converters, and now tractor weights, is linked to the growing drug problem in our area, particularly fentanyl.