Monroe County Executive Adam Bello Responds to Republican Veto Override of Catalytic Converter Law

November 10th, 2021

View Full Press Release (PDF)

Tonight, the Republican Legislature Majority voted to override my veto of a bill that purported to regulate the sale of used catalytic converters. In doing so, the majority refused to consider legislation that I submitted as a compromise that would focus on criminal activity and not handcuff responsible Monroe County scrap metal businesses.

“The Republican Majority passed an ill-conceived bill that doesn’t solve the problem of catalytic converter theft and actually harms Monroe County businesses,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “The practical approach is to work with local scrap dealers and not dismiss a compromise law I proposed that would accomplish their goals and not harm the local economy.”

The majority bill seeks to discourage the theft of catalytic converters from vehicles by requiring scrap metal recyclers to maintain records of the purchase of used converters for three years and prohibiting recyclers from taking possession of used catalytic converters from anyone other than certain identified sellers. Under this law, criminals could just bring stolen catalytic converters to an out of county scrap yard to sell them, while legitimate sellers are discouraged from conducting business in Monroe County.

For example, car repair shops that regularly replace catalytic converters generally sell their mixed automotive metals — which often include used converters — to scrap collectors. Rather than sort out converters from other metals, scrap collectors would take all of their mixed metal scrap to recyclers in other counties where recyclers do not have to abide by the obstacles to legitimate business presented by this law.

“The legislation I proposed provides additional tools for law enforcement to arrest and prosecute those illegally selling catalytic converters. The Republican bill doesn’t help the authorities, instead it slaps burdensome restrictions on legitimate businesses and sends their customers to other counties,” said Bello. “My proposal, among other things, would require facilities purchasing scrap metal to install video surveillance systems at all customer scales and point of sale locations. This will help law enforcement quickly confirm the identity of those engaged in criminal activity.”

The Monroe County Legislature passed the bill at its September 14, 2021 meeting, at which a representative of the scrap dealers association pleaded with the Republican majority to listen to their concerns. The Republican majority refused to listen and voted without scrap dealer input.

Said Bello, “Cracking down on catalytic converter theft should focus on criminals and not on burdening legitimate and honest scrap dealers. The Republican majority refuses to hear from the businesses they are hurting or entertain any reasonable compromise. This is another example of a lack of common sense and thoughtfulness on the part of the Republican majority.”