Fiona Ma for State Assembly

California Bill Would Restrict Recycler Payments For Stolen Newspapers

CHICAGO -- Recyclers and junk dealers would be prohibited from paying more than $50 in cash to anyone who brings in large amounts of newspapers, under a bill approved Monday by a California Senate committee.

The bill is a response to a rash of massive thefts of free newspapers from racks in the San Francisco Bay area. The thefts were the subject of an article in E&P's February issue.

The measure, sponsored by San Francisco Assembly member Fiona Ma, would permit recyclers to pay more than $50 for newsprint -- but only by check or electronic transfer, and with the recording of the seller's driver's license or other government-issued identification document.

The law would apply to recyclers in any municipality that provides curbside pickup of old newspapers.

The California Newspaper Publishers Association, which supports the proposed law, said it is expected to move to a vote by the full Senate within the next few weeks.