Posted on May 31, 2019
HARTFORD – On Thursday evening, May 30th, the House of Representatives passed legislation proposed by State Representative Tami Zawistowski (R-61) to increase penalties for the theft of used cooking oil and animal fats.
“This issue was first brought to my attention by a constituent who operates a cooking oil recycling business,” said Rep. Zawistowski. “Many people don’t realize that cooking oil is a valuable commodity; last year his company recorded nearly 2000 known or suspected thefts. Current penalties are not sufficient to deter these thefts. There is also an environmental aspect since these thieves often dump the oil if they believe they have been detected.”
In his testimony, Suffield resident and co-owner of Western Mass. Rendering Co., Terrence Plakias, noted, “Used cooking oil theft is an obscure but real threat to the economic vitality of our state and its communities. Legislative action to enhance the penalties and increase the risk of engaging in this criminal activity will act as a significant deterrent.”
The legislation, HB 7107 An Act Concerning the Theft of Waste Vegetable Oil or Animal Fats, would increase the penalty for theft of waste vegetable oil or animal fats to 4th Degree Larceny, a Class A Misdemeanor. The majority of those arrested for theft of waste vegetable oil and animal fats are charged with 6th Degree Larceny, the lowest degree in Connecticut law.
The legislation was unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee and passed in the House of Representatives by 116 – 22. The bill awaits further action by the State Senate before the end of the legislative session on June 5th.