Senate Bill No. 528
(By Senators Snyder, Kessler (Mr, President), Unger, Palumbo, Browning, Laird, D. Facemire, Edgell, Miller, K. Facemyer, Jenkins, Kirkendoll, Foster and Beach)
[Introduced February 7, 2012; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §61-14-1, §61-14-2, §61-14-3, §61-14-4, §61-14-5, §61-14-6 and §61-14-7, all relating to scrap metal; providing definitions; requiring scrap metal dealers to obtain business licenses; requiring certain information to be obtained and kept for each scrap metal transaction; requiring scrap metal dealer and seller to sign a purchase ticket; requiring signed statements of ownership; providing that scrap metal dealer must produce certain information upon request of law-enforcement officers; prohibiting the possession of stolen or unlawfully obtained scrap metal; prohibiting purchase of certain items of scrap metal without proof of lawful possession; providing that payment for scrap metal must be made by check; providing circumstances when scrap metal dealers are to notify law enforcement; increasing criminal penalties; authorizing suspension or revocation of business license for failure to properly register or obtain information; providing exemptions; and providing purchase ticket information is not a public record.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §61-14-1, §61-14-2, §61-14-3, §61-14-4, §61-14-5, §61-14-6 and §61-14-7, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 14. SCRAP METAL THEFT PREVENTION ACT.
For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings.
(1) “Business registration certificate” has the same meaning ascribed to it in section two, article twelve, chapter eleven of this code.
(2) “Purchase ticket” means the written record of any transaction involving scrap metal. Purchase tickets shall be serially numbered for the purpose of identification.
(3) “Scrap metal dealer” means any person or entity that is in the business of purchasing scrap metal, any salvage yard owner or operator, or any public or commercial recycling facility owner or operator, or any agent or employee thereof, who purchases any form of scrap metal.
(4) “Scrap metal” means any ferrous or nonferrous metal that is no longer used for its original purpose and is capable of being processed for reuse by a metal recycling facility, including, but not limited to, iron, brass, wire, cable, copper, bronze, aluminum, platinum, lead, solder, steel, stainless steel, catalytic converters or other similar ferrous or nonferrous metals, but shall not include recyclable aluminum cans.
(5) “Seller” means the person that enters into a transaction involving scrap metal with a scrap metal dealer.
§61-14-2. Registration with Tax Commissioner.
No scrap metal dealer may participate in a transaction involving scrap metal without first obtaining a business registration certificate from the Tax Commissioner.
§61-14-3. Records required for purchasing scrap metal.
(a) A scrap metal dealer shall make a complete and accurate purchase ticket for every transaction involving scrap metal. The purchase ticket shall include:
(1) The seller’s full name, permanent home address, business address, E-mail address, and telephone or cellular phone number;
(2) The seller’s date of birth;
(3) The seller’s driver’s license number;
(4) The description and the motor vehicle license number of vehicle used to transport the scrap metal to the scrap metal dealer;
(5) The description of the kind, character and weight of the scrap metal involved in the transaction, including the gauge of the scrap metal and whether it is stripped, smelted or burned; and
(6) The time and date of the transaction.
(b) The seller shall attest to the following statement, which shall appear on the purchase ticket in bold face type: “All information contained within this purchase ticket is complete and accurate. I am the owner of the scrap metal described in this purchase ticket or I am authorized to enter into this transaction on behalf of the owner of the scrap metal described in this purchase ticket. I understand that I will face criminal penalties if: (1) The information in this purchase ticket is incorrect; (2) I am not the owner of the scrap metal described herein; or (3) I am not authorized to enter into this transaction on behalf of the owner of the scrap metal.”
(c) Both the seller and the scrap metal dealer shall sign the purchase ticket.
(d) The scrap metal dealer shall also require the seller to produce a valid driver’s license or government issued identification card. The scrap metal dealer shall verify the seller’s identity and make a photocopy of the license or identification card and attach it to the purchase ticket.
(e) The scrap metal dealer shall immediately produce the purchase ticket to a law-enforcement officer upon the law- enforcement officer’s request.
(f) The information required to be collected by a scrap metal dealer pursuant to this section is confidential, is not public record, and should only be disclosed as allowed in this article or otherwise allowed by law: Provided, That to the extent otherwise permitted by law, any investigator employed by a public utility or railroad to investigate the theft of public utility or railroad property may accompany a law-enforcement officer upon the premises of a scrap metal dealer in the execution of a valid warrant or assist law enforcement in the review of records required to be retained pursuant to this section.
§61-14-4. Requirements and restrictions for scrap metal transactions.
(a) No person shall have or take possession of any scrap metal that he or she knows, or reasonably should know, has been stolen or unlawfully obtained.
(b) No scrap metal dealer may purchase, possess or receive scrap metal that the scrap metal dealer knows, or should reasonably know, has been stolen or unlawfully obtained by the seller.
(c) No scrap metal dealer may enter into a transaction to purchase or receive nonferrous wire that is burned, stripped or smelted, in whole or in part, to remove insulation unless the seller produces a written statement of the origin to the scrap metal dealer that the wire was lawfully burned, stripped or smelted.
(d) No scrap metal dealer may purchase, possess or receive any of the following items of scrap metal, or any reasonably recognizable part thereof, without obtaining proof that the seller is in lawful possession of the item of scrap metal:
(1) Utility access covers;
(2) Street light poles or fixtures;
(3) Road or bridge guard rails;
(4) Water meter covers;
(5) Highway or street signs;
(6) Traffic directional or traffic control signs;
(7) Traffic light signals;
(8) Any metal marked with any form of the name or initials of a governmental entity;
(9) Property owned and marked by a telephone, cable, electric, water or other utility provider or any such wire or cable that has had the sheathing removed, making ownership identification impossible;
(10) Property owned and marked by a railroad;
(11) Cemetery markers or vases;
(12) Historical markers;
(13) Utility manhole covers and storm water grates;
(14) Fire hydrant or fire hydrant caps; and
(15) Twisted pair copper telecommunications wiring of 25 pair or greater existing in 19, 22, 24 or 26 gauge.
(e) No scrap metal dealer may knowingly purchase, possess or receive a stainless steel or aluminum beer keg, whether damaged or undamaged, or any reasonably recognized part thereof, for the intended purpose of reselling it as scrap metal unless the scrap metal dealer receives the keg or keg parts from the beer manufacturer or its authorized representative.
(f) Any payment made by a scrap metal dealer to a seller for scrap metal must be made by a prenumbered check drawn on a regular bank account in the name of the scrap metal dealer and with such check made payable to the person documented as the seller. The scrap metal dealer shall record the check number on the corresponding purchase ticket.
§61-14-5. Preserving evidence of scrap metal theft.
(a) Following notification, whether verbal, in writing or electronically, from a law-enforcement officer that scrap metal has been reported as stolen, a scrap dealer that is in possession of the scrap metal in question shall hold that scrap metal intact and safe from alteration, damage or commingling and shall place an identifying tag or other suitable identification upon the scrap metal.
(b) Upon being notified of stolen scrap metal by a law- enforcement officer, a scrap metal dealer shall notify a law- enforcement officer if scrap metal matching the law-enforcement officer’s description is on the premises.
(a) Any scrap metal dealer who fails to properly obtain a business registration, fails to obtain any of the seller’s information as required by section three of this article, or fails to notify law enforcement in accordance with section five of this article, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction of a first offense, shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $3,000; upon conviction of a second offense, shall be fined not less than $2,000 and not more than $4,000 and, notwithstanding section five, article twelve, chapter eleven of this code, the court in which the conviction occurred shall issue an order directing the Tax Commissioner to suspend for a period of six months any business registration certificate held by that person; and upon conviction of a third or subsequent offense shall be fined not less than $3,000 and not more than $5,000 and, notwithstanding section five, article twelve, chapter eleven of this code, the court in which the conviction occurred shall issue an order directing the Tax Commissioner to cancel any business registration certificate held by that person and state the date the cancellation takes effect.
(b) Any person who purchases, takes possession or receives any scrap metal that the person knows, or should reasonably know, has been stolen or unlawfully obtained is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction of a first offense, shall be confined in jail not more than one year or fined not more than $3,000, or both confined and fined; and upon conviction of a second offense, is guilty of a felony and shall be confined in a correctional facility not more than three years or fined not more than $5,000, or both confined and fined.
(c) Upon the entry of a final determination and order by a court of competent jurisdiction, scrap metal found to have been misappropriated, stolen or taken under false pretenses may be returned to the proper owner of such material.
This article does not apply to:
(1) Purchase by manufacturing facilities that melt, or otherwise alter the form of scrap metal and transform it into a new product;
(2) The purchase or transportation of food and beverage containers or other nonindustrial materials having a marginal value per individual unit;
(3) A purchaser of a vehicle on which a catalytic converter is installed, a purchaser of a catalytic converter intended for installation on a vehicle owned or leased by the purchaser, or any person who purchases, other than for purposes of resale, a catalytic converter or a motor vehicle on which a catalytic converter is installed, for personal, family, household or business use; or
(4) Purchases made by a scrap metal dealer at wholesale under contract or as a result of a bidding process: Provided, That the scrap metal dealer retains and makes available for review by law enforcement the contract, bill of sale or similar documentation of the purchase made at wholesale under contract or as a result of a bidding process: Provided, however, That the scrap metal dealer may redact any pricing or other commercially sensitive information from said contract, bill of sale or similar documentation before making it available for inspection.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require scrap metal dealers to obtain a business license. The bill requires certain information to be obtained for each scrap metal transaction. The requiring scrap metal dealer and seller to sign purchase ticket. The bill requires signed statements of ownership. The bill provides that scrap metal dealers must produce information upon request of law-enforcement officer. The bill prohibits the possession of stolen or unlawfully obtained scrap metal. The bill prohibits the purchase of certain items of scrap metal without proof of lawful possession. The bill provides that payments for scrap metal must be made by check. The bill sets forth circumstances when scrap metal dealers must notify law enforcement. The bill increases criminal penalties. The bill authorizes suspension or revocation of business license for failure to properly register or obtain information. The bill defines terms. The bill also provides that purchase ticket information are not public records. The bill also provides exemptions.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.