Senator Sandy Pappas Applauds Passage of Copper Wire Theft Prevention Legislation

Statute Will Curb Thefts Darkening Minnesota Cities

ST. PAUL, Minn. — On May 19, legislation to curb the theft of copper wire, which has gutted thousands of streetlights and left streets dangerously dark across Minnesota, passed the Senate in an omnibus commerce bill (HF 4757), 34-32. Senator Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul), chief author of the original bill, touted the bill’s passage as a definitive step toward reducing copper wire theft and the vandalism of public property.

“I’m proud to have championed this legislation that will help prevent the theft of copper wire from our parks, streets and homes,” said Senator Pappas. “We’ve seen our law enforcement and neighborhoods working together to curb this crime, and today’s action by the Legislature is a key step toward eliminating it altogether. This bill was a collaboration with Representative Athena Hollins, who authored this legislation in the House; the many mayors and city leaders, including Mayor Melvin Carter, who advocated tirelessly for this bill; and the trade and scrap metal business owners who contributed their knowledge of the industry to ensure legitimate copper wire sales continue. I look forward to seeing this essential bill signed into law.”

As of February 2024, around 2,000 streetlights in Saint Paul parks were dark because of wire theft. The legislation would require any person who is selling copper metal to have a state-issued license, locking the thieves who have been gutting Minnesota’s public utilities out of the market where they earn most of their money.

HF 4757 passed the House on May 18, 68-60. It will now move to Gov. Walz’ desk for signature into law.

Senator Sandy Pappas
Sandy Pappas represents District 65, which includes portions of Saint Paul in Ramsey County in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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