Ryu’s catalytic converter theft deterrence bill passes House

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Rep. Cindy Ryu, D-32
Olympia—In a rare Saturday floor session, the Washington House of Representatives passed legislation to stem the sharp rise in catalytic converter thefts across Washington state. 

HB 1815 requires a scrap metal business engaging in a transaction involving a catalytic converter removed from a vehicle to record documentation indicating that it came from a vehicle registered in the seller’s name.

“Stolen catalytic converters contain precious metals which can be sold for quick cash. However, the amount that thieves receive for a stolen catalytic converter is typically around 10 percent of the total costs suffered by the owners of the vehicles they are stolen from,” said Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline), the legislation’s lead sponsor.
“Older vehicles are effectively totaled by catalytic converter theft, compounding the harm for people who depend on their vehicle to get to work, or to drive their kids to school.

“All of our constituents are finding higher prices at the grocery store, and policymakers have a responsibility to do all we can to keep supply chains moving. The trucking industry is begging us to help prevent catalytic converter thefts from further breaking down the delivery of goods and food. That’s why I am pleased by the bipartisan vote, but surprised it wasn’t unanimous,” Ryu continued.

The bill also requires the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to establish a program to assist local law enforcement agencies for special enforcement of metal theft, an important measure to crack down on catalytic converter theft and illegal sales. 

“We need to make sure law enforcement has the resources and training to deter catalytic converter theft and respond adequately when it happens. This legislation lays the groundwork to reverse the massive spike in theft that communities around our state are experiencing,” said Rep. Jesse Johnson (D-Federal Way), a cosponsor of the bill.

The bill passed the House 68-30 and will now go to the Senate.


Kathleen February 13, 2022 at 11:52 AM  

I have always thought these metal businesses buying these catalytic converters metal need to be held accountable. Stop taking and paying for this metal. There is no accountability in Washington state. They are just as guilty as the thief.

Unknown February 14, 2022 at 11:22 AM  

I agree with this bill. Seems like a really easy fix. If they can't sell it for money they have no reason to steal it.
A hefty fine associated with buying the metal with out documentation is required as well.

Anonymous,  February 15, 2022 at 6:20 AM  

Everyone agrees with the parts of the bill that require rigorous record keeping at the scrap metal dealers, but read the bill yourself using the link and you'll see that the larger focus of Ryu's bill is on creating a lumbering government commission to study metal theft.

Along with other stakeholders who will serve on the committee, for some inexplicable reason Ryu's bill reserves two spots on the committee for "individuals with lived experience being charged with, or convicted of, organized theft." Why on earth would we want criminals on a committee charged by the government to find solutions?

In media reports, Ryu was astonished that 30 members voted no. I'm astonished that 68 voted yes.

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