Senate approves Jones bill to deter theft

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

“Currently, anyone can sell plastic shipping containers to be melted down,” said Jones. “This lack of regulation legalizes a system in which people can make a quick buck at the expense of Michigan milk, soft drink and beer vendors.”

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.

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.