ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - When it comes to the State Senate Bill 437—which is one of two bills in the state legislature aimed at requiring recycling yards to pay its customers with a check instead of cash. Jacksonville-based Senator Robert Nichols knows the benefit and challenge another law could bring.
"I've not had one single person to call and say they support this bill," the conservative Republic serving District 3 said from Austin, Texas, in between committee meetings on Tuesday. "I have received a lot of calls from people in my district that are not in favor of the bill."
He says there are enough tough laws on the books to decrease recycling stolen metal.
Nichols thinks Senate Bill 437 is not only not necessary but would burden people who depend on a little extra income by cashing in cans and metal. One of the first business owners to contact Sen. Nichols was Robert Barrios, owner of East Texas Recycling, 3928 Hwy 69 South, in Angelina County.
"If we have to issue a check to every person who comes to recycle—along with everything else we're already required to do by the state—like registering their state ID with a state system and recording every transaction on video surveillance—then I would have to hire a person to just do checks," Barrio said by telephone. "And most of my customers need their money now. So for them to wait for a check in 30 days wouldn't be good for them."
Senator Nichols says, "I think the bill is well intended—which is to cut down on theft, which we all support. I just don't think this bill gets us where they would like to go."
The senator believes the bill is, "well intended—which is to cut down on theft, which we all support. I just don't think this bill gets us where they would like to go." He recalled how bad copper and metal theft used to be before the legislators put tougher laws in place. This includes visual documentation of every seller and the stuff they're trying to sell. And for those trying to sell air conditioner units, they would have to have a bill of laden or proof of ownership. Nichol believe the laws in place are working as far as documenting who's following recycling guidelines.
"My wife discovered a salvage yard this past year as we were cleaning out the garage and stuff, we had a lot of heavy metal that she wanted to get rid of," Nichols recalled. "And somebody said, 'Take it the scrap yard.' She confirmed to me they do what I just said." Nichols said.
Many people who are cashing in are picking up cans, metals and other items along highways and roadways. Nichols says those efforts and people deciding to bring stuff to the scrap yards for recycling instead of dumping unwanted items into landfills is better for the environment.
"Scrap yards are valuable contributions. By having those things available It encourages people rather than being wasteful and wait and just let things rust or put into the landfill, actually have a place for it to go. So, they can make some money off of it," the senator said.
Senate Bill 437 is now set for committee, which may mean Barrios could be making a road trip to the state capitol.
"I asked Barrios if he'd like to come down to testify if the bill comes to committee. He said he would," Nichols said. "So, we've got his name flagged. So if we get notice it's posted for a hearing, I'm going to call him and ask him to come up."