Scrap metal veto: Burdensome regulations vs. growing theft problem

TRENTON – In turning back the bill that would have combated scrap metal theft, Gov. Chris Christie in his veto message talked of increased, expensive administrative burdens on law-abiding businesses.

In issuing an absolute veto of A3222, Christie said that “I am concerned that significantly increasing recordkeeping and reporting requirements on scrap metal businesses will impose substantial expenses and administrative burdens on operators in this State.

“Businesses that abide by the law, especially our State’s small business community, should not be penalized with overly burdensome requirements.

“Imposing additional hurdles on legitimate small businesses may deter law-abiding scrap metal businesses that contribute to our State’s economy from operating in New Jersey.”

The sponsors, primarily 5th District Democrats Sen. Donald Norcross and Assembly members Angel Fuentes and Gilbert Wilson, saw it differently.

They cited a proliferation of such thefts, bipartisan support, and having worked with the administration to craft a bill that would be supported.

“An explosion in Trenton that damaged three homes last week because a copper thief loosened a gas line is one of multiple incidents across the state,” Fuentes said in response to the veto.

“Had anyone been in those homes, they could have been tragically killed. I don’t know how much more needs to occur for the state to take measures against this growing epidemic, but I’m open to suggestions.”

Among other things, the bill would have required that all payments be made by non-transferrable 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, allowing the company to record the buyer’s plates and driver’s license.

Scrap metal veto: Burdensome regulations vs. growing theft problem