Gov. Jan Brewer signed two bills this week regulating the scrap metal industry to put more muscle into theft enforcement.
The laws will make it harder for scrap buyers to deal in stolen metals. Metal theft, especially copper, has become a significant issue in Arizona, with thieves stripping the wiring from street lights, stealing air conditioning units and even making away with manhole covers.
SB 1170 makes it illegal for anyone to purchase or even possess a metal known to be stolen.
HB 2262 requires scrap metal dealers to register with the Department of Public Safety and update owner information every two years.
A first violation fine is $500, and it rises to $1,000 on a second violation.
Owners of scrap metal businesses also must have proof of state registration at the place of business so law enforcement can check. The bill also creates a database of registered scrap metal dealers.
The bill also requires a report to legislative leaders every two years of the registered dealers.
Both bills go into effect on Aug. 2.