The state may soon require scrap metal dealers to register with the name, address and driver's license or ID number for the owner and everyone with at least a 10 percent share in the company.
That's the crux of a bill making its way through the Arizona Senate, and it's already passed the House with overwhelming support. HB 2262 was approved 51-6 in the House, and has received no opposition so far in the Senate committees that have heard it.
The bill specifically requires scrap metal business owners and business partners to register with the Department of Public Safety with updated information every two years. They could face a $500 fine if they fail to register after an inspection.
Because of an earlier effort to combat metal theft, the state already requires scrap metal dealers to keep contact information for anyone who sells them more than $25 worth of metal
The bill could get a vote in the full Senate next week.
Metal theft, particularly copper, has been a problem in Tucson and other cities for years. Copper wiring has frequently been stolen from city street lights and air conditioning units. In some locations, the city has replaced stolen wiring only to find it stolen again within days or weeks.
Tucson's Metropolitan Pima Alliance is supporting the bill because it is in line with the group's Metal Theft Task Force, a committee of governmental and non-governmental officials committed to "mitigating, preventing and combatting (sic) the negative economic and personal impact copper theft has on our community," according to the group's website.
The alliance sent an email to members urging them to make sure state Senate President Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, knows there are supporters in Tucson.
"Representative Tom Forese has championed legislation dedicated to strengthening metal theft laws that protect law abiding citizens and business owners, while also creating additional barriers for metal thieves and those that enable their practices," the email said. "We are close to passing important legislation and I strongly urge you to contact Senator Biggs immediately to show your support."