(KXNET) — In our state, thieves have been stealing catalytic converters and selling them separately to individuals and unknown scrap dealers.

It’s a problem impacting both our cities and rural areas.

February 3, the State Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 2299, sponsored by Senator Shawn Vedaa.

The bill now goes to the state House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 2299 is looking to stop the sale of stolen converters.

Catalytic converters are anti-pollution devices that contain rare earth metals, which is what makes them so valuable to thieves.

The bill proposes for those trying to sell a detached catalytic converter must have written evidence that they in fact own that catalytic converter.

“It’s just kind of giving them some guidance to scrap yards, saying ‘here’s what the state of North Dakota going to ask you to have.’ So if there is a question to this catalytic converter, we can get this back up and we can find the individual that sold it to you,” said State Senator, Shawn Vedaa.

The bill also makes it punishable by misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the value of the materials and repair costs.