Legislation Co-Authored by Sen. Smith Pass with Bipartisan Backing

Bills Aim to Curb Catalytic Converter Theft and Improve Traffic Safety

MADISONToday, the State Senate passed Senate Bills 408 and 508, bipartisan legislation co-authored by Sen. Jeff Smith (D – Brunswick).

Senate Bill 408 establishes a process for a scrap dealer to purchase a catalytic converter from a seller in order to prevent the theft of catalytic converters from occurring. Catalytic converters can be stolen from the bottom of a vehicle in a matter of minutes and sold to scrap dealers for hundreds of dollars. Senate Bill 408 requires scrap dealers to keep a record of the sellers’ identification and how the seller came into possession of the equipment for two years.

This type of theft happens across the state and only has gotten worse in recent years. According to the lead bill authors, there were a total of seven catalytic converter thefts in 2019, 50 in 2020 and 52 as of May 2021, in Eau Claire alone.

No matter where you are in the state, you’ll hear from Wisconsinites worried about their catalytic converter being stolen—it shouldn’t have to be this way,” said Sen. Smith. “As a co-author, I’m proud that we’re now one step closer to enacting legislation to discourage thieves and prevent expensive car repairs for working families.

Senate Bill 508 allows the use of green warning lights on certain vehicles, including snowplows and county and municipal highway department vehicles. Research has shown flashing green lights are more visible for drivers, especially in inclement conditions.

This legislation will keep Wisconsin roads safer for drivers and highway workers,” said Sen. Smith. “Transportation safety is a top concern for leaders on both the local and state level. Commonsense proposals, like Senate Bill 508, are effective ways to prevent dangerous accidents on our roadways.”