Press Releases

WASHINGTON—Today, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) issued the following statement on his opposition of the Metal Theft Prevention Act:

“Theft of valuable metal is a serious crime that can damage government infrastructure and cause great harm to businesses.  For this reason many states, including Utah, have enacted measures to deter such criminal activity and punish those who engage in it.

“Where the federal government enacts legislation creating criminal penalties, legislators must be careful to respect the Constitution’s enumerated powers and structure of federalism.  I have heard concerns expressed regarding people stealing valuable metal and crossing state lines to sell the stolen product.  While I would support federal legislation addressed to such truly interstate circumstances, legislation that more broadly regulates intrastate conduct is constitutionally problematic.

“In my view, this bill exceeds Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause and imposes a federal regulatory scheme in an area of law the Constitution reserves to the states. In the interest of maintaining the balance between state and federal authority, I will vote against reporting this bill from the Judiciary Committee.”