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The D&D Daily's Nationwide ORC Legislative Update

Lawmakers at the federal and state level, in both political parties,
roll out bills to fight America's ORC crisis

With organized retail crime surging across the country, lawmakers throughout the nation are crafting pieces of legislation to fight the crisis. From state legislatures to the U.S. Congress, fighting ORC is finally becoming a top priority. Read below for a federal and state-by-state rundown of the bills being proposed or enacted to curb organized theft.

United States Senate:

S.140 - Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023

A bill to combat organized crime involving the illegal acquisition of retail goods for the purpose of selling those illegally obtained goods through physical and online retail marketplaces.

01/30/2023: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Sponsor: Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA]
Cosponsor: Sen. Cortez Masto, Catherine [D-NV]*
Text of S. 140:

S.139 - Organized Retail Crime Center Authorization Act of 2023

A bill to combat organized crime involving the illegal acquisition of retail goods for the purpose of selling those illegally obtained goods through physical and online retail marketplaces.

01/30/2023: Introduced in Senate

Sponsor: Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA]
Cosponsor: Sen. Cortez Masto, Catherine [D-NV]*
Text of S. 139:

01/31/2023: Cortez Masto, Grassley, sponsor bill looking to reduce organized retail crime

01/31/2023: NRF Supports Recently Enacted Organized Retail Crime Legislation Bills

ICSC Supports The Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023

ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) strongly supports S. 140/H.R. 895, the bipartisan "Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023," introduced in the 118th Congress by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Representatives Ken Buck (R-CO-04), Dina Titus (D-NV-01), Susie Lee (D-NV-03) and David Joyce (R-OH-14).

The measure establishes a coordinated multi-agency response and creates new tools to tackle evolving trends in organized retail theft.

Organized Retail Crime: State Legislative Measures

Thirteen states - Arkansas, Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania - have enacted similar versions of the federal "INFORM Consumers Act" over the last two years. And while INFORM promises to be an effective tool for preventing stolen products from being fenced online, much attention will now be paid to how policies dealing with ORC will be enforced in the new year.

Strengthening law enforcement's ability to target organized retail criminal operations continues to be high priority. Eleven states - Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington - have established an ORC task force within the Attorneys General offices to investigate and prosecute suspects involved in organized retail crimes. These task forces provide increased funding to support coordination among law enforcement, prosecutors, and businesses to focus on stopping multi-jurisdictional retail crime operations.

Statewide ORC task forces have been responsible for a string of major organized retail criminal busts. The Attorneys General of California, Illinois and New Mexico have each carried out coordinated sting operations based on the important work that their state ORC task forces have conducted. The signing of the INFORM Consumers Act marked a major policy breakthrough for retailers and local communities. Moving into 2023 and onward, however, retailers and other stakeholders need to continue building relationships with local officials, law enforcement agencies, attorneys general and others to ensure that curbing organized retail crime remains priority number one.


Statewide Legislative Efforts - 18 States Addressing ORC

3/8/23: Oregon Senate puts forward two bills aimed at combatting ORC
Senate bills 318 and 340 were put forth this legislative session; one aims at providing more funding increased enforcement and better communication between Oregon's Department of Justice, local police departments, and retailers. The other changes Oregon's current criminal code, and if passed, would make it easier to prosecute criminal organizations involved in organized retail theft.

On Tuesday, the Washington County DA's Office announced its support for the two bills, with DA Kevin Barton stating, "I am keenly aware of the challenges our community faces from increased organized retail crime. These crimes impact all members of our community, including both large and small businesses and employees and customers alike. As the nature and scope of these crimes evolve, it is important that our laws also evolve to keep pace."

Senate Bill 318: Read the Text

Senate Bill 340: Read the Text

Public hearing for Senate bills 318 and 340 held in the Senate Judiciary Committee at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8.

Oregon Business & Industry Supports New ORC Legislation

In a statement provided to the D&D Daily by Policy Director & Counsel Derek Sangston, Oregon Business & Industry (OBI) expressed support for two new pieces of legislation, and outlined their ongoing efforts to battle ORC:

We are the Oregon affiliate for the National Retail Federation and work with our retail members regularly on matters that affect their ability to do business here. Organized retail crime is certainly one of these. The phenomenon affects retailers across the state, both in cities and in rural areas.

OBI helped establish the Oregon Retail Crime Task Force, which began to meet monthly in September 2022. The task force brought together retailers, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and others to identify common challenges, share information and, ultimately, make recommendations to the Legislature.

Two sets of recommendations, supported by OBI, are contained in Senate Bills 318 and 340.

Senate Bill 318 would address the problem by funding an analyst and a pair of criminal investigators within the Oregon Department of Justice to help investigate and prosecute organized retail theft. They would coordinate with local law enforcement, prosecutors and private loss-prevention specialists. The bill also would give $5 million to the Criminal Justice Commission to administer a local grant program to boost retail theft enforcement.

Senate Bill 340 would add organized retail theft to the state's repeat offender statute, making it easier for prosecutors to aggregate the value of stolen property. The bill also would allow prosecutions for organized retail theft in any county in which a single crime was committed. Finally, it would provide for enhanced penalties for people who place employees and others at risk when engaging in reckless conduct.

OBI policy team member Derek Sangston testified in support of these bills before the Senate Judiciary Committee March 8. You can read his testimony here. OBI will continue to support this effort to curtail organized retail crime.

1/30/23: New Mexico HB 234 Creates new crime of "Organized Retail Crime"
Creates a new crime of "organized retail crime" for those who engage in a concerted effort with others to: steal or help steal merchandise worth $2,500 or more over the course of a year; receive, purchase or possess merchandise worth $2,500 or more over the course of a year knowing or believing it is stolen; or recruits, coordinates, organizes, supervises, directs, manages, or finances another to commit organized retail crime or shoplifting (regardless of the amount of merchandise stolen). Those convicted or organized retail crime are guilty of a second-degree felony.

Redefines the definition of "racketeering" to include "organized retail crime," which allows convictions for organized retail crime to serve as a predicate offense for a racketeering charge (in addition to the organized retail crime conviction).

March 2023: Bill to stiffen shoplifting crimes passes New Mexico House

California: AB-335 - Proposition 47 Repeal Bill
The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, enacted as an initiative statute by Proposition 47, as approved by the electors at the November 4, 2014, statewide general election, made various changes relating to theft and the possession of controlled substances, including by, among other things, generally reducing the penalty for those crimes, including reducing the penalty for possession of concentrated cannabis, establishing a procedure by which individuals convicted of those crimes prior to the passage of the act may petition for resentencing under the act, and creating the crime of shoplifting.

Read the Text

03/08/23: From committee: Amend, and do pass as amended and re-refer to Com. on APPR. (Ayes 8. Noes 0.) (March 7).
02/09/23: Referred to Com. on PUB. S.
01/31/23:  From printer. May be heard in committee March 2.
01/30/23: Read first time. To print.

Minnesota: SF 893 / HF 450 - Crime of Organized Retail Theft establishment
Sponsors: Senator Warren Limmer (R) Senator Ron Latz (D)

A bill for an act relating to public safety; establishing the crime of organized retail theft; providing for the release of certain financial account information to law enforcement; amending certain burglary crimes following trespass notice; establishing a time period for a search warrant on financial institutions; amending Minnesota Statutes 2022, sections 13A.02, subdivisions 1, 2; 609.52, subdivision 3; 609.527, subdivision 1, by adding a subdivision; 609.582, subdivisions 3, 4; 626.15; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 609. EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective August 1, 2023.

Read the Text

01/27/2023: Introduction and first reading
01/27/2023: Referred to Judiciary and Public Safety

Pennsylvania: HB 192 Referred to Committee on Judiciary - March 8, 2023
Striking Third Strike Amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in theft and related offenses, further providing for the offense of retail theft. Felony of the third degree when the offense is a third or subsequent offense, regardless of the value of the merchandise. (v) Felony of the third degree when the amount involved exceeds $1,000 or if the merchandise involved is a firearm or a motor vehicle.

Sponsor: Representative D. MILLER

In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation that would eliminate the three-strike felony provision for retail theft. Currently, a person can get felony of the third degree for a third retail theft conviction no matter the value of the item taken. This means that you can get a felony for stealing a tube of toothpaste.

To put this in context, a felony of the third degree can carry up to 7 years in prison with $15,000 in fines. Other charges that can be a felony of the third degree include involuntary manslaughter, carrying a firearm without a license, robbery, and institutional sex assault.
Retail theft is overwhelmingly committed by people who are battling addiction. This otherwise low-level, non-violent offense is more often than not committed by a woman with a drug problem. It is our belief that the goals of public safety, accountability, and restitution can be served under existing retail theft misdemeanor grading. However, the impact of felony charge can severely impede our shared goals of long-term sobriety, reintegration, and independence. Simply put, a third degree felony for a tube of toothpaste while in the midst of drug addiction is an unwarranted and unhelpful barrier to a productive life.

This legislation leaves in place the felony of the third degree grading for retail theft of items over $1,000, firearms, and cars.

Read the Text

Washington: HB 1656 Changing the definition of Theft; adoption of Amendment 584 Organized Retail Theft | Learn more here

Feb 2022: Committee Voted NO Without Recommendation 6 (R) to 7 (D). The Bill did not make it out of committee

Nevada: Attorney General Introduces Bill for Office to Investigate, Prosecute Organized Retail Theft
Assembly Bill 50 The bill, according to AG Ford, would allow the office of the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute organized retail theft crimes. AG Ford says organized retail theft crimes are criminal actions in which thieves target retailers to steal a large amount of products, and then resell the items in different venues either in-person or online. The bill would also allow the office to investigate counterfeit goods and fraudulent transactions.

Virginia: March 2023: Bill before Gov. Youngkin would punish Organized Retail Theft
Before adjourning the legislative session last month, lawmakers in the Virginia General Assembly sent a bill to Gov. Glenn Youngkin that would crack down on groups who commit organized retail theft. Two identical bills in the House and Senate would make it a Class 3 felony, punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison, for any individual who "conspires" or acts with another person to shoplift from one or more retail establishments "with the intent to sell such retail property for monetary or other gain." The felony charges would be triggered when $5,000 or more worth of goods is stolen within a 90-day period, according to the bills' text.

The governor has a March 27 deadline to act on both measures, according to the state's bill tracking system. Macaulay Porter, the governor's spokeswoman, said the governor is reviewing the legislation but did not directly answer whether Youngkin plans to sign the bills. Representatives from the governor's administration spoke in support of the House version of the bill as it advanced in committee.

Virginia: Feb 2023: Virginia passes law to crack down on Organized Retail Theft
Lawmakers approved legislation that will make organized retail theft a felony and make those convicted of the crime eligible for prison sentences of up to 20 years. The legislation, which has the governor's support, will make it a Class 3 felony for anyone to conspire or act in concert with one or more people to steal retail merchandise with a value exceeding $5,000 in a 90-day period, with the intent to sell the stolen goods for profit.

Oklahoma: Dec 2022: Congress must help Oklahoma combat organized retail crime
In 2015, the Organized Retail Crime Act (House Bill 1966) was introduced to address the state's organized retail crime wave. The bill would have made organized retail crime a felony, but the legislation ultimately died in committee.

Kansas: State Senate approves SB 244 to fight Organized Retail Crime
Senators also approved Senate Bill 244, which would provide authority to the Kansas Attorney General to prosecute any crime committed in multiple counties. Attorney General Kris Kobach said he would use that authority to crack down on retail theft, one of major campaign promises. The legislation passed on a 35-3 vote.

Colorado: 2022: HB22-1099: Online Marketplaces And Third-party Sellers

Concerning mandatory disclosures of third-party sellers selling through online marketplaces.

House Bill 22-1099 was passed with nearly unanimous bipartisan support in the General Assembly, and signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis in March 2022. Starting Jan. 1, 2023, the law requires companies that operate online marketplace platforms to identify online sellers, verify their information and provide seller disclosures to consumers. They must also include an easily identifiable reporting mechanism giving consumers a tool to flag and report suspicious activity.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced the formation of a new statewide task force targeting organized retail theft and the reselling of stolen goods online. Law enforcement officials from across the state will convene to develop a shared set of resources for cross-jurisdictional investigations aimed at preventing the sale of stolen goods through online marketplaces. The task force's formation comes as a new state law goes into effect that aims to reduce the anonymous online sale of stolen goods, according to a news release from the attorney general's office.

Michigan: Senate Bill 691, effective date Oct 2022
Senate Bill 691, which was approved unanimously by the Senate last month, would add similar language to the state's racketeering penal code in order to provide more legal leverage against criminals at the top of these efforts. Michigan's Organized Retail Crime Act, which was passed in 2012, prescribed felony sentencing for organizing, supervising, financing or assisting another person in committing organized retail crimes.

North Carolina: July 2022: New NC law cracks down on organized retail crimes
Gov. Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 766 into law. The new law focuses on organized retail theft. Organized retail theft is two or more people working together to steal from businesses with the intent to resell. The law also regulates high-volume third-party sellers online.

Florida: SB 1534 Approved 6/17/2022
The bill amends s. 812.015, F.S., the retail theft statute, to create new third degree felony and second degree felony retail theft crimes based on multiple retail thefts occurring in a limited time period in different merchant locations. Specifically, the bill amends the statute to provide that a person commits retail theft, a third degree felony, if the person individually, or in concert with one or more other persons, commits five or more retail thefts within a 30-day period and in committing such thefts obtains or uses 10 or more items of merchandise, and the number of items stolen during each theft is aggregated within the 30-day period to determine the total number of items stolen, regardless of the value of such merchandise, and two or more of the thefts occur at different physical merchant locations.

The bill also amends the statute to provide that a person commits a second degree felony if the person individually, or in concert with one or more other persons, commits five or more retail thefts within a 30-day period and in committing such thefts obtains or uses 20 or more items of merchandise, and the number of items stolen during each theft is aggregated within the 30-day period to determine the total number of items stolen, regardless of the value of such merchandise, and two or more of the thefts occur at a different physical retail merchant location.

The bill also amends s. 921.0022, F.S., the offense severity level ranking chart of the Criminal Punishment Code, to rank the new third degree felony retail theft offense as a level 5 offense and rank the new second degree felony retail theft offense as a level 6 offense.

The newest bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis is taking aim at the rise of retail theft in the state. The measure is designated to crack down on what State Attorney Ashley Moody has called "organized retail crime."

Under SB 1534, harsher penalties will be invoked on individuals who are caught stealing. The new bill will now make it a second or third-degree felony to get caught stealing, depending on the quantity of stolen goods.

Georgia: May 2022: Gov. Kemp Signs Inform Consumers Act to Prevent ORC
Governor Brian P. Kemp signed SB 332, also known as the Inform Consumers Act, which prevents criminals from selling goods stolen from retail stores on any online marketplace platform.

GA's SB33: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to selling and other trade practices, so as to provide for certain disclosures by third-party high-volume sellers of consumer products on online marketplaces; to provide for definitions; to require online marketplaces to provide certain notifications and a consumer reporting mechanism; to provide for civil remedies; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.  Read the text

Illinois: May 2022: Gov. Pritzker signs bill aimed at addressing ORC
Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation Friday that is aimed at cracking down on high-profile "smash-and-grabs" and other organized retail theft. "This important piece of legislation will help to combat these unlawful activities by addressing the problem from multiple angles," Chauncey Rice, government relations manager for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said at a news conference. It defines, for the first time, organized retail crime into law and creates stiffer penalties for the ringleaders of retail thefts. The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

HB 1091 (enacted May 2022)

Ohio: May 2022: Bill to Combat Organized Retail Crime Signed into Law
Ohio House Bill 272 championed by State Rep. Haraz Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg) was signed into law by the governor Wednesday. The legislation designed to combat organized retail crime, jointly sponsored by State Rep. Phil Plummer (R-Dayton), requires high-volume, third-party online sellers to disclose certain pieces of identifying information in order to protect consumers. Ghanbari attended the bill signing ceremony. The bill defines a high-volume third-party seller as a participant in an online marketplace that, in any continuous 12-month period in the previous 24 months has entered into at least 200 discreet sales for new or unused consumer goods resulting in at least $5,000 of gross revenue. The required identifying information for sellers on product listings would include details such as name, email address, or business tax I.D. number and would further require the online marketplace to verify such information within ten days of the seller qualifying as high volume.

Wisconsin: May 2022: Assembly Bill 829
An Act to amend 973.12 (1) and 973.12 (2); and to create 939.6197 of the statutes; Relating to: mandatory minimum sentence for three or more convictions for retail theft and providing a penalty. Report vetoed by the Governor on 4-18-2022

GOVERNOR'S VETO MESSAGE April 8, 2022: To the Honorable Members of the Assembly: I am vetoing Assembly Bill 829 in its entirety. This bill would create a 180-day mandatory minimum sentence for a person convicted of a third offense of retail theft, which includes theft of services, within five years. I am vetoing this bill in its entirety because I object to restricting the discretion of judges to address the circumstances of the violation before them. Republican and Democrat-controlled states alike have been leading efforts to reform the justice system by using data-driven, evidence-based practices to inform decisions that help keep our communities safe. I welcome the opportunity to have meaningful conversations about holding offenders accountable while implementing strategies that can keep our kids, our families, and our communities safe. I remain hopeful the Legislature will join me in this important work.

Respectfully submitted, TONY EVERS Governor

- Placed on calendar 5-17-2022 pursuant to Joint Rule 82 (2)(a)

- Failed to pass notwithstanding the objections of the Governor pursuant to Joint Rule 82


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