Sen. Jones’ bill would deter theft

LANSING- Legislation that would reduce theft and lower costs for milk producers as well soft drink and beer vendors and distributors was approved by the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee on Thursday, said sponsor Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

"Currently, no proof of ownership or identification is needed to sell plastic shipping containers to be melted down," said Jones. "This lax policy encourages theft in order try and make a quick buck, I am confident that this measure will help to curb this problem."

Senate Bill 721 would mandate that anyone wishing to sell ten or more plastic shipping containers show proper identification as well as a written statement that they own or are authorized to sell the container. This measure would require these records to be kept for one year.

"It is currently estimated that Michigan soft drink distributors are losing more than $3 million a year due to the theft of these shipping containers," said Jones. "This is money that is being stolen from Michigan businesses instead of being reinvested in our state's economy. In short, my bill will lower costs for dairy producers, soft drink and beer distributors or anyone who uses plastic shipping containers."

Violating this act would result in the same penalties as those for buying or selling knowingly stolen nonferrous metals, a statutory maximum five-year sentence or fine of more than $5,000.

Jones' measure closely mirrors legislation recently passed in Texas and Arizona as well as bills introduced in Ohio and Wisconsin.

SB 721 now advances to the full Senate for consideration.