Vice Chairwoman Edmonson visits Florida Senate to advocate for better regulation of recycling illegally-obtained copper
On Monday, Vice Chair Audrey M. Edmonson spoke in front of the Community Affairs Committee of the Florida Senate in support of a bill which creates additional restrictions on regulated metal transactions, making it more difficult for secondary metals recyclers to purchase regulated metals, including copper, which may have been obtained illegally.
Included in the bill are certain requirements of secondhand dealers including:
• Requiring proof of ownership prior to purchase of certain regulated metals
• Maintaining certain records on a purchase transaction in a standardized method;
• Allowed purchase regulated metals during limited hours;
• Limits the value for cash transactions to $1000, requiring payment by check for higher valued transactions.
The bill was supported by the builders, recyclers, sheriffs, a number of cities and counties, AT&T, the Electrical Coop, and Associated Industries.
Vice Chairwoman Edmonson emphasized that the issue of scrap metal and copper wiring theft is “not just criminal in nature but is an issue that has severe consequences and creates a domino effect. In addition to the increasing cost to replace copper wire found in light poles, appliances and air-conditioning units throughout Miami-Dade County, and the inconvenience of our constituents in replacing fixtures in private businesses and homes, there is a security threat to our most vulnerable residents, our seniors and our children,” the Vice Chairwoman said.
“Light pole outages create darkness in areas where seniors and children cross busy streets or walk to and from their residences. There have been muggings, thefts and shootings in areas that are completely in the dark. More tragically, we experienced the fatal accident of a woman in Miami-Dade County just crossing the street in a dark area and being struck by a car,” said Vice Chairwoman Edmonson.
Neither the Miami-Dade County ordinance, nor the bill before the State Senate committee, was designed to hurt scrap metal dealers, according to Vice Chairwoman Edmonson, but to make it harder for the thieves to sell these stolen metals. The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners created a task force, tasked with finding solutions to alleviate the impact on businesses, residents and the County and is composed of representatives from neighboring municipalities, Miami-Dade County Departments, Police, Florida Power and Light, the scrap metal dealers, the State Attorney’s Office and residents of the affected areas.
“The local ordinance adopted in Miami-Dade County originally stemmed from constituent complaints in reference to light pole outages that were causing safety concerns,” the Vice Chairwoman told members of the State Senate committee. “Then I began to hear from business owners that air-conditioning units were being stolen from their properties. In more recent weeks, churches and daycare centers have had thefts of air-conditioning units leaving parishioners and children uncomfortable from the heat. Because local police have had a hard time catching these criminals in the act, the only other option was to try to create stiffer penalties imposed on our scrap metal dealers for purchasing these metals that were illegally obtained.”