Minnesota’s Tim Walz Signs Catalytic Converter Law

Penalty Ranges up to 20 Years in Prison for Illegally Buying or Having 70 or More Converters
Catalytic Converter
Catalytic converter and exhaust system. The Minnesota law will make it illegal to possess a catalytic converter unless it is marked with the date the converter was removed from a vehicle, among other provisions. (Tony Savino/Getty Images)

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed legislation to crack down on catalytic converter theft in the state, the latest in a series of moves by state lawmakers to help residents combat what has become a nationwide problem.

The wide-ranging law contains provisions such as making it illegal to possess a catalytic converter unless it is marked with the date the converter was removed from a vehicle, along with the vehicle identification number of that vehicle or some alternative to the VIN. It also addressed paying restitution costs to identifiable victims.

“Too many Minnesotans have stories about the danger and financial consequences of having their catalytic converter stolen. This legislation will help protect Minnesotans’ property and bring peace of mind. Those who commit these brazen crimes should know that there will be accountability,” Walz said.

Criminal penalties in the law are substantial, with the lowest being two misdemeanors for illegally possessing, buying or acquiring one to two catalytic converters. The maximum criminal penalty is a felony with up to 20 years imprisonment and/or fine up to $100,000 for illegally having or buying over 70 catalytic converters.

Tim Walz


More than 20 legislators in Minnesota backed the measure, officially titled House File No. 30, which was sponsored by state Rep. Ruth Richardson to establish requirements for buying catalytic converters and providing penalties. The legislation on March 9 sailed through the House with a 109-19 vote after passing the Senate (40-25) six days earlier. With Walz’s signature March 13, the law takes effect Aug. 1.

State Sen. John Marty, who had introduced a similar bill, thanked Richardson and Walz for their efforts to tackle the problem.

“After years of inaction, we have finally taken an important step in protecting Minnesotans. This legislation will crack down on the black market that deals in stolen catalytic converters, and gives law enforcement tools they need to stop bad actors,” Marty said.

National Insurance Crime Bureau CEO David Glawe earlier this year said, “From supply chain disruptions to the exploding market value of precious metals, catalytic converters have become a prime target for thieves across the country.”

In Arkansas, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on March 13 signed into law House Bill 1365 amending state statute on records maintained by scrap metal recyclers. It also created legal offenses for catalytic converter thefts and unauthorized possession.

Meanwhile, in this legislative session Missouri lawmakers have been sorting through three bills introduced to tackle catalytic converter theft.

Texas lawmakers also have Senate Bill 465 (creating a criminal offense for catalytic converter theft and increasing criminal penalties) currently making the rounds in the 88th Legislature.

The New Jersey Legislature has a bill (A4784) that is currently under consideration to require vehicle identification numbers be stamped on catalytic converters.

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