HARRISBURG – Legislation that would improve public safety by preventing the theft of railway material received the unanimous approval of the state Senate this afternoon, according to bill sponsor Senator David G. Argall (R-29).
“With increasing theft along our rail lines in Pennsylvania, it is vital the state does everything it can to deter this illegal activity and, more importantly, protect the public,” Argall said.
Pennsylvania’s current scrap material theft prevention law mandates that certain items, including beer kegs, detached catalytic converters, metallic wire valued more than $100, and several construction-related materials are only allowed to be sold to a scrap processor or recycler through a commercial entity. Argall’s bill would add railroad materials to that list.
The genesis of the proposal came from Schuylkill County-based Reading and Northern Railroad, who brought it up at one of Argall’s town hall meetings.
“When they tell me they are increasing security staff due to the higher risk of theft along the rail lines, I knew we had to do something now before it’s too late and we have a tragedy on our hands,” Argall said.
Argall’s bill was amended in the House earlier this month to include the creation of a statewide database of scrap dealers and recyclers in Pennsylvania. The bill returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence.