Barbour, a Republican, said House Bill 1136, sponsored by House Speaker Pro tem J.P. Compretta, D-Bay St. Louis, would place too much regulation on small businesses, and that he wanted to get a group of metal dealers, law enforcement officials and others to study the issue. Copper theft from construction sites has become a big problem in post-Katrina South Mississippi.
“I support harsher penalties for those convicted of stealing metals and I support more restrictive laws that discourage the trade of illegal metals in Mississippi,” Barbour’s veto message said. “However, in regulating metals commerce, we should acknowledge that the metals industry employs thousands of Mississippians and to penalize many legitimate businesses for the bad actions of others is poor policy and unfair.”
The bill requires bookkeeping be kept for two years on certain metal purchases, including copper, beer kegs, railroad materials, aluminum and other metals. The records would have to include a thumbprint of the seller, as well as their name, address, ID number and other information. The bill prohibits cash payments.
Barbour also vetoed Senate Bill 2751, intended to create positions for 14 more assistant district attorneys and seven investigators statewide, some for South Mississippi.