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CPBJ Extra Blog

Bill seeks to control who can scrap railroad metal

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Among the bills the House will vote on today is one designed to prevent individuals from being able to sell scrap railroad metal, in an effort to stop thefts of such metal.

The bill, Senate Bill 1077, is chiefly sponsored by Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill and Berks counties. It is listed to be a vote on concurrence when the House convenes at 1 p.m.

The bill’s goal is to create a statewide registry of scrap processors and recycling facilities, then to restrict scrapping of railroad metals to commercial accounts or to individuals with proper identification (which must then be fully documented at the facility).

Having handled police news releases for years, I can attest to how many of them reported metal thefts, though the majority seemed to be from construction sites.

A call to a Norfolk Southern spokesman to discuss the impact of such theft was not immediately returned. However, Argall’s sponsorship memo states that “This issue of stolen rail materials has become widespread throughout Pennsylvania as it affects both the railroad industry and the public safety of Pennsylvanians. As prices for scrap metals continue to climb, so do the amount of burglaries along our important rail lines.”

It’s an interesting bill that affects one business sector.

However, given that the state has only two weeks from today to pass a budget, I’d prefer to see marathon sessions devoted to discussing pension reform or, frankly, any other topic that relates directly to balancing Pennsylvania’s 2014-15 budget. The two highlighted topics for the week? Granting the right for schools to teach students about the Holocaust and teen suicide prevention.

Both are important, yes; but couldn’t they be handled during any of the other 11 months of the year?

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Speaking of budget talks, you can watch the House in session live starting at 1 p.m. here. You can also access the full schedule of House and Senate committee meetings here.

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Amy Gulli

Amy Gulli

Amy Gulli is the managing editor of the Central Penn Business Journal. Have a question or tip for her? Email her at Follow her on Twitter, @amygulli. Circle Amy Gulli on .

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