Bill aimed at deterring catalytic converter thefts headed to governor’s desk

Catalytic converter

The Washington House of Representatives granted final legislative approval Tuesday night to HB 1815, aimed at deterring the theft of catalytic converters. The bill now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for his signature.

The bill, sponsored by 32nd District Rep. Cindy Ryu of Shoreline, was prompted by a wave of catalytic converter thefts over the last two years, as precious metal prices have peaked and used converters command high prices for recycling.

The final legislation includesl amendments to include:

  • Additional documentation requirements of the scrap metal recyclers and vehicle wreckers
  • A three-day cooling off period for them to make payments beyond $30 to sellers
  • Creating a Consumer Protection Act violation
  • While not creating new crimes, imposing fines of $1,000 per catalytic converter for violations of existing metal theft laws
  • Adding an emergency clause while giving several weeks for businesses to adopt these new practices
  • Establishing a grant and training program through the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to assist local law enforcement agencies targeting metal theft
Rep. Cindy Ryu

“This bill became stronger because colleagues engaged with the industry, the Governor’s Office and law enforcement agencies every step of the way,” Ryu said. “With the governor’s signature, the new law can help reverse the spike in catalytic converter thefts, and the Washington State University work group will help inform further efforts the state can take to protect people from this crime.”

Under one of the bill’s amendments, Washington State University would convene a catalytic converter workgroup to make recommendations to reduce catalytic converter theft, including changes to state law. Members would include representatives of police, prosecutors, courts, affected industries, insurers and crime victims. A final report would be due Jan. 1, 2023.

 

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