Republican Senator Bill Emmerson says a water district in his area asked him to write the legislation after a series of manhole cover thefts. The bill would make it illegal for recyclers to accept manhole covers, fire hydrants and other water-related devices, without a written certification from the agency or utility that owned them. He says it's both a financial - and a public safety problem. For example, he says the fire hydrants were stolen from one elementary school in his district:
Emmerson says a recycler who accepts a device without the paperwork faces a fine of three thousand dollars. He's writing a separate bill that would make junk dealers and recyclers liable in civil court for damages incurred by the agency from which the items were stolen.