Scrap-metal bill that Camden dealers previously opposed passes Assembly

More than a year after scrap-metal dealers made a fuss at Camden City Council over proposed regulations, state legislators passed some of the very same rules for everyone in the state.

On Monday, the state Assembly approved legislation aimed at deterring copper and metal theft by setting up stricter standards for payment. The bill was sponsored, in part, by local representatives: Sen. Donald Norcross and Assemblymen Angel Fuentes and Gilbert "Whip" Wilson (D-Camden).

In February 2012, Camden City officials tried to amend the city code governing scrap-metal yards as a way to better control the metal theft problem the city was (and still is) enduring. The proposed changes to the code included paying sellers by check only and providing driver’s license and vehicle registration.

Long-time scrap-metal business owners in Camden cried it was an unfair move, in particular the pay by check mandate.

The business owners said they would go out of business if the city imposed the proposed changes because metal sellers would simply go to Pennsauken or over the bridge to Philadelphia, where cash in accepted.

Unless it were federal law, Tom Fannelle of R. Fannelle’s Sons in Camden said at the time, Camden scrap dealers would be at a disadvantage, given the easy access to Philadelphia.

Well, state legislators heard the unfair cry and decided to make it a state-wide rule, as opposed to just a city rule.

“Bill S1773 seeks to deter such activity by removing the element of cash from scrap metal transactions. It requires that all payments be made by non-transferable check unless the seller has a photo ID on file with the scrap company, and that these businesses only accept deliveries made by motor vehicle,” explains a summary from the Norcross, Wilson, Fuentes office.

“The legislation also helps scrap metal recycling facilities aid local law enforcement in tracking down metal thieves by implementing an electronic reporting system. This system, which submits information pertaining to the receipt or purchase of scrap metal to the State Police, can help track stolen metal sold to businesses in New Jersey or elsewhere.”

The bill is en route to Gov. Christie’s desk.