ASA Advocacy Efforts Achieve Success in D.C.
In recent weeks, ASA’s advocacy efforts have scored wins for the PHCP and PVF industry in two legislative priorities.
U.S. Congressmen Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) were joined by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in introducing bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate that would make it easier for law enforcement officials to investigate the rapidly growing crime of metal theft.
The Metal Theft Prevention Act (H.R. 1006 / S. 418) would help law enforcement agencies catch metal thieves. “Metal thefts are causing power outages, downing phone lines, disrupting the delivery of products and costing businesses and homeowners billions of dollars a year,” said Stupak, co-chairman of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus. “Many states, including Michigan, have passed laws in an effort to curtail metal theft. But a patchwork of state laws is not doing enough to help investigators prevent and solve these crimes.”
“Metal theft is a serious problem with dangerous consequences, especially for homeowners,” said Klobuchar. “In Minnesota, we’ve seen entire homes explode from natural gas leaks caused by stolen copper pipes.”
“Scrap metal theft is a growing and dangerous problem in our society,” Terry said. “The high price for copper and aluminum is pushing crooks to steal metal of any kind at any cost for quick cash. This practice must be stopped and this bill will greatly deter people from profiting from stolen metal.”
“We simply must ensure that the nation’s businesses, homes and infrastructure are no longer viewed as a treasure trove by desperate metal thieves,” Hatch said. “It is all the more critical considering the dire economic straits our country is in now. Americans need to be secure in their property. This bill would do that by establishing a federal baseline from which all states must operate. This is important because many states across the nation now lack laws governing metal theft and tend to attract thieves as a result. Of course, this bill does not preclude states from enacting their own laws.”
The Metal Theft Prevention Act would require scrap metal dealers to document their metal transactions and would prohibit cash transactions of more than $75 for scrap metal, making it more difficult to profit from stolen metal. Scrap metal dealers would face civil penalties of up to $10,000 for failing to document transactions.
The bill is supported by the Coalition against Copper Theft, of which ASA is an active member. Dennis Goode of M. Cooper Supply in Mokena, Illinois, traveled to D.C. and testified during a Congressional staff briefing on ASA’s behalf. “We are encouraged that our efforts resulted in the introduction of this bill. Having Dennis be able to speak on behalf of all ASA members to the Congressional staff responsible for developing the details of this legislation was a key factor in our efforts. It represents the high-level of involvement ASA has in Washington, D.C., and our ability to make an impact as an association with the decision-makers,” said Mike Adelizzi, ASA’s executive vice president.
Adelizzi and ASA president Joe Poehling of First Supply in Madison, Wisconsin used that access to make personal appeals to seven members of Congress congressmen on behalf of the industry when lobbying for the economic stimulus bill passed in February. “We were successful in relaying the importance and impact that funding for water infrastructure, repeal of the 3% withholding, and an extension of the energy tax credit through 2011 will have to our members and the entire industry,” shared Adelizzi. “These are issues that have been a significant part of our legislative agenda over the last year. The efforts we have made in D.C. over the last 18 months have had a proven impact. Doors were opened and due recognition was given to our industry and the role ASA members play in the U.S. economy. It’s a direct result of our increased lobbying efforts, our members contacting their legislators on important issues and hosting visits at their places of business.”
ASA is taking its efforts in D.C. to the next level at NetworkASA 2009, where every attendee will have scheduled visits with their congressional representatives. “With 500 or more of our industry’s finest distributors and manufacturers descending on Capitol Hill in October, our issues will be presented at a magnitude not before seen in the Association. I encourage all companies doing business in this channel of distribution to send at least one representative to NetworkASA 2009 to take advantage of this unique opportunity.”
For more information on ASA’s advocacy efforts and NetworkASA 2009, please visit www.asa.net or call 312.464.0090.