SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) is pleased to announce that Governor Brown has signed Assembly Bill 1971 into law. The bill passed through both houses of the Legislature with unanimous support.
AB 1971 clarifies that the theft of nonferrous materials (i.e., copper, copper alloys, stainless steel, and aluminum, excluding beverage containers) from public property is an act of vandalism. It also increases the maximum fine from $250 to $1,000 for someone who knowingly buys copper without verifying that it has been legally obtained.
"Copper theft has been a rapidly increasing problem for our public agencies." stated Buchanan. "By incentivizing purchasers to look more closely at the copper they are buying we hope this bill will be another deterrent against this type of theft. If no one wants to buy stolen copper, thieves will have no reason to steal it."
The costs to public agencies not only to replace the copper but also to repair additional damage caused by the thieves has risen well into the tens of millions of dollars in recent years. A recent front page story on the cover of the San Francisco Chronicle detailed the increasing costs of copper theft to BART, calling it a "devastating trend."
"Copper theft from public transit agencies is not only financially costly but critical public threat to public safety," Buchanan pointed out. "Damage to train tracks, traffic lights, and other transit infrastructure creates an unacceptable risk to the public that this bill will work to help stop."
The Governor signed the bill on Tuesday and it will take effect January 1, 2013.
Contact: Susanna Schlendorf, (916) 319-2015