With Oregon’s legislative session winding down, it’s reckoning time for proposed bills that would offer nurseries and others in agriculture greater protection against metal theft and other kinds of agricultural theft. The Oregon Association of Nurseries and other groups have been active in promoting a pair of bills:
- Senate Bill 570 (HTML|PDF) would address metal thefts by requiring scrap dealers to keep more thorough records, produce them when demanded by law enforcement, and pay sellers by check mailed to their street address, rather than cash.
- House Bill 3490 (HTML|PDF) would elevate certain thefts of agricultural property to first degree status, thereby increasing penalties criminals could face if convicted.
There appears to be good and bad news for the backers of these bills. The metal theft bill, Senate Bill 570, looks to be on its way to passage. The Oregon Senate approved it on a 29-1 vote on April 24, and it has received committee approval in the House with a “do pass” recommendation. It could go to a floor vote as early as today, and most representatives are actually signed on as sponsors. The agricultural theft bill, on the other hand, has showed few signs of movement, likely due to the fiscal impacts created by elevating more crimes to felonies. It was assigned to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Safety and has not made it to the House floor.