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Summary: Recent reports suggest that the Houston area has experienced a rash of metal thefts. HB 555 would increase the penalty for violating registration requirements of a recycling entity from a general misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor. This bill would make violation of the metal recycling entities chapter of the Occupations Code (1956) a Class C misdemeanor.
Analysis: We recognize that an increase in metal thefts presents a problem. However, we disagree that the penalty increases in HB 555 is an effective method of dealing with the problem. The thieves should be punished severely, not the metal recycling entity. HB 555 is a case of overcriminalization, and we recommend voting NO.