|Posted:||August 7, 2015 10:55 AM|
|From:||Representative Daryl D. Metcalfe|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Theft of Secondary Metals|
|As you may know on June 25, the Commonwealth Court ruled that Act 192 of 2014 was unconstitutional. Act 192 contained the same language that is in my proposed bill concerning the theft of secondary metals. Importantly, the court’s decision was based merely on technical procedural rules, meaning that the substance of the legislation itself was never called into question. But because of the court’s action, this very real problem still needs to be addressed.
The theft of secondary metals is a problem in my district as well as in other parts of Pennsylvania and in many other states. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, thieves risk their lives to strip wiring and piping from homes, utility properties, and electrical infrastructure, resulting in power disruptions and revenue losses. Stealing copper and other metals from utilities can cause major electric outages, and expensive repairs impact ratepayers. The Department of Energy estimates that a theft of just $100 in copper wire can cost the utility more than $5,000 to repair.
Consequently, this legislation creates the offence of Theft of Secondary Metal. The new section in the Crimes Code states, “A person is guilty of theft of secondary metal if he unlawfully takes or attempts to take possession of, carries away or exercises unlawful control over any secondary metal with intent to deprive the rightful owner thereof.”
The term “secondary metal” is defined as, “wire, pipe or cable commonly used by communications, gas and electrical utilities and railroads and mass transit or commuter rail agencies, copper, aluminum, or other metal, combination of metals that is valuable for the recycling or reuse as raw material.”
The grading of the offense follows the scheme of other theft offenses found in the Crimes Code in that the grading is enhanced when the value of the secondary metal increases. Thus, an offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the third degree when the value of the secondary metal unlawfully obtained is less than $50. When the value of the secondary metal unlawfully obtained is $50 or more but less than $200, the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree. When the value of the secondary metal unlawfully obtained is $200 or more but less than $1,000, the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree. When the value of the secondary metal unlawfully obtained exceeds $1,000, the offense constitutes a felony of the third degree. A third or subsequent offense constitutes a felony of the second degree when the offense is a third or subsequent offense, regardless of the value of the secondary metal.
Please join me in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation. If you have any questions please contact Gina Buffington at email@example.com or 717-783-1707.
Introduced as HB1567