New Bills Proposed to Combat Catalytic Converter Theft
As most dealers know, catalytic converter theft has been a major issue for dealers. Here in Texas, several members of the Texas Legislature have been leading the charge to deal with catalytic converter theft. But, most notably, Senator Carol Alvarado and House Representative Jeff Leach have been at the forefront of the battle in Texas.
Recent Legislation and Law Enforcement
In 2021, these two members of the legislature worked to pass HB 4110 to address catalytic converter theft. The idea behind House Bill 4110 was that strict regulations on the recycling catalytic converters would make it more difficult for thieves to profit from the theft of catalytic converters and increasing penalties for stealing catalytic converters from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony would deter would-be thieves. However, after almost 2 years after the passage of HB 4110, it is now clear that more needs to be done to help prevent this theft, and Senator Alvarado and Representative Leach are back at work with some new ideas to tackle this large problem.
Despite Senator Alvarado not needing any additional motivation, she found more motivation when catalytic converter thieves killed one of her constituents, Deputy Darren Almendarez, after he interrupted them trying to steal the catalytic converter from his personal vehicle. With the help of Representative Leach, Sen. Alvarado will be introducing a bill for this upcoming session named after Deputy Almendarez. Their offices reached out to several stakeholders to seek their input about legislation that will be introduced in this upcoming session. TIADA was invited there by the members of the legislature to ensure independent dealers supported the bill and to ensure TIADA's members' needs were considered in this important piece of legislation.
One of the largest issues law enforcement faces in dealing with catalytic converter theft is the difficulty of proving a cut-off catalytic converter is stolen, as it requires matching it to a reported theft. When law enforcement pulls over a vehicle with 20 catalytic converters, common sense makes it clear that unless they are in the supply chain of recycling catalytic converters, they should not have that many. Therefore, the Deputy Darren Almendarez Bill will criminalize possession of catalytic converters if someone has 2 or more catalytic converters from 2 or more different vehicles, except for those people with a legitimate reason for having them. One example of a legitimate reason for having catalytic converters would be having a GDN, as the bill exempts GDN holders from the law because there are times when an automobile dealer may have multiple catalytic converters for various reasons.
TIADA will continue to follow legislation related to catalytic converter theft and other pieces of legislation introduced for this upcoming session. If you would like to help our efforts, please donate to INDEPAC and/or attend our TIADA Day at the Capitol, as these are both ways to make sure dealers have a voice at the Capitol.