AGENDA ITEM SA
May 2, 2014
Josh Hamlin, Legislative
Expedited Bill 18-14, Secondhand Personal Property - Automated
Public Safety Committee recommendation: The Committee took no action on
but recommended (3-0) that the executive branch draft a memorandum of understanding
(MOU) with ecoATM and submit the MOU to the Council for approval.
Expedited Bill 18-14, Secondhand Personal Property - Automated Purchasing Machines,
sponsored by Council President Rice and Councilmembers Branson, Floreen, Riemer, Council
Vice President Leventhal and Council members Navarro and EIrich, was introduced on March 18.
A public hearing was held on April 8 and a Public Safety Committee was held on April 30.
Bill 18-14 would amend the County's secondhand personal property law to prohibit the
use of automated purchasing machines (also known as "reverse vending machines") in the
County. The fiscal and economic impact statements were received on April 7, 2014, and indicate
no fiscal or economic impact (©S-8).
An automated purchasing machine (APM) is a self-service kiosk that dispenses payment,
typically in cash, for cell phones or other electronic devices. There is currently only one operator
of APMs in the United States, ecoATM, and there are currently no APMs located
Transactions of the sort conducted with APMs are currently covered under the County's
secondhand personal property law, Chapter 44A of the Code, but the existing law does not
directly address the use of APMs. Baltimore City and Baltimore County have recently enacted
local laws specifically prohibiting the use of APMs
out of concern that APMs provide a
convenient opportunity for cell phone thieves to convert stolen goods to cash without human
interaction, thereby encouraging such thefts.
The Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 918 (HB 918) during the 2014
session, and it is expected to be signed by the Governor (©9-26). Once signed into law, HB 918
will take effect on October 1, 2014, and will preempt the County from regulating APMs and
supersede existing County law regulating APMs, but will permit the County to prohibit the use
Baltimore City prohibited the use of APMs in September 2013, and Baltimore County enacted its prohibition on