Minnesota: Demand Catalytic Converter Theft Legislation!

Minnesota: Demand Catalytic Converter Theft Legislation!

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Abu Nayeem started this petition to Minnesota State House and

If you are reading this petition, it means that you are most likely a victim or know a victim of catalytic converter theft. This petition is a LIVING DOCUMENT for all the citizens impacted. Please sign the petition, and share your story in the comment (include what city you belong to) and share to your network.  

[Campaign Update- 02/16/20]:  The campaign has shifted from promoting passage of specific bills to getting a non-partisan bill to pass where both the MN Senate and the MN House. To do this, I will be setting up a virtual community meeting starting at 5:30pm,  Monday, March 1st, bringing legislator sponsors and community members together to discuss what is “effective legislation” to address catalytic converter theft and the appropriate actions steps that can be taken. Currently, there is call-to-action of requesting legislators from bills HF330, and SF206 to attend the meeting.

1) What is happening?

The catalytic converter is a device located underneath an automobile that filters harmful emissions from your car emission. The rare metals used in the catalytic converter is valuable. Thieves steal and sell the stolen catalytic converters to "legitimate" scrap-metal dealers. Recently, the Covid19 pandemic has significantly increased the value of the rare metals and, as a result, there is a national surge of catalytic converter thefts and number of vehicle types targeted have expanded. For the city of Saint Paul, Minnesota, compared to last year, it is reported auto-accessory thefts have increased by 300% as seen from this image.

2) Why is this an urgent problem?

Replacing catalytic converters can cost thousands of dollars to replace. Even if insurance companies cover a portion of the bill, the out-of-pocket costs are still hefty, and personal insurance coverage rate increases. Some households get their replacement catalytic converters stolen within a few months! These thefts disproportionately impact lower income households, renters, and/or blue collar workers because they are less likely to have a garage or secure parking area. For this reason, it is lower priority for legislators as it does not personally impact them or their wealthy donors.

3) What about law enforcement?

It's simply hard to catch the thieves (can take two-three minutes for removal) and local law enforcement prioritize more violent crimes and, in general, funding has been restricted. So a legislative solution is the appropriate response. 

4) Campaign Strategy and Public Community Meeting [ Update: 02/16/20]

Initially, this petition was supporting the passage of Senate bill, SF206, and House Bill, HF330. Things have been a bit complicated since then. Recently, State Senator John Marty, an early advocate, just introduced a Senate bill, SF890, addressing catalytic converter thefts. At the current rate, a Republican bill, SF206, will pass in the Senate, and a Democratic bill (to be announced) will pass in the House. This will create unnecessary gridlock and quagmire, which may undermine effective legislation to be passed and delay the process.... This is NOT ACCEPTABLE!

I advocate for a non-partisan agreement of the interested lawmakers to come up with a single agreed upon reformed bill to pass both legislative houses. I will be setting up a virtual community meeting, on Monday March 1st, bringing legislators and community members together to discuss what is “effective legislation” to address catalytic converter theft and the appropriate actions steps that can be taken. To be clear, the meeting has three goals:

  1. A public discussion and record for citizens, experts, and legislators to address the issue.
  2. Push for non-partisan unity, where a single agreed upon bill (or action) will pass both the MN House and Senate. Let’s debate and discuss publicly the merits of each legislative bill
  3. Bring state legislators who have sponsored the bills AND local leaders in the same table

Currently, Senator John Marty, bill author of SF890, has expressed interest in attending. 

5) CALL-TO-ACTION: Bring Legislators into the meeting

On Monday I have reached out to the bill sponsors of SF206 and HF330 with a letter inviting them to the meeting asking for at least one bill representative to attend the meeting. None of these legislators have responded back to me. Reach out to these representatives to encourage them to attend the meeting on March 1st by calling them and/or emailing them. The most significant legislator is Senator Karin Housley.

MN Senate Bill (SF206)

  • Senator Karin Housley (R) || Bill Author || District 39: Stillwater || Number: 651-296-4351  || Email: sen.karin.housley@senate.mn
  • Senator Karla Bigham (D) || Bill sponsor || District 54: Cottage Grove/ Afton/ Newport || Number: 651-297-8060 || Email Form (place on browser): https://www.senate.mn/members/email-form/1238 
  •  

MN House Bill (HF330)

  • Representative Greg Davids (R) || Bill Author || District 28B: South-Eastern Tip (Wisconsin and Iowa border) || Number: 651-296-9278 || Email: rep.greg.davids@house.mn 
  • Representative Keith Franke (R) || Bill Sponsor || District 54A: West Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Newport || Number: 651-296-4342 || Email: rep.keith.franke@house.mn
  • Representative Tony Jurgens (R) || Bill Sponsor || District 54B: East Cottage Grove, Afton, Denmark Twp || Number: 651-296-3135 || Email: rep.tony.jurgens@house.mn
  • Representative Tony Jurgens (R) || Bill Sponsor || District 54B: East Cottage Grove, Afton, Denmark Twp || Number: 651-296-3135 || Email: rep.tony.jurgens@house.mn
  • Representative Tony Jurgens (R) || Bill Sponsor || District 54B: East Cottage Grove, Afton, Denmark Twp || Number: 651-296-3135 || Email: rep.tony.jurgens@house.mn
  • Representative Kaohly Her (D) || Bill Sponsor || District 64A: East Saint Paul- Union Park, Midway, Summit Hill, St. Anthony Park || Number:  651-296-4342 || Email: rep.kaohly.her@house.mn
  • Representative Leon Lillie (D) || Bill Sponsor || District 43B: North Saint Paul, Oakdale, Maplewood || Number: 651-296-1188 || Email: rep.leon.lillie@house.mn
  • Representative Connie Bernardy (D) || Bill Sponsor || District 41A: Fridley  || Number: 651-296-5510 || Email: rep.connie.bernardy@house.mn

5) Follow the campaign, and Join the Community

This organization group members are volunteers and this is a decentralized group. Join our Facebook group, and Twitter, @RConverters, to get campaign updates and rally for change. 

Lead Organizer,                                                                                                        Abu Nayeem

Abu is a Saint Paul resident. He is a community organizer, and data specialist. He has a Masters of Science in Agricultural & Resource Economics from UC Berkeley. In 2019, he ran for city council in Saint Paul for Ward 1. Feel free to follow him on Twitter and Facebook for updates on this project and other civic actions within Saint Paul.  

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!