At a fast glance, H. B. 192, innocuously titled Property Transaction Amendments, didn’t appear to be about antiques at all.
The general description of the bill stated that it, “modifies the Pawnshop and Secondhand Merchandise Transaction Information Act regarding functions of the Division of Consumer Protection and exemption of certain businesses.”
The intent of the bill, according to its sponsor Representative Rebecca Lockhart, was to aid law enforcement in the recovery of stolen property with a value based on age, rarity, condition, craftsmanship or collectability and the apprehension of the involved parties.
Secondhand dealers, such as pawn shops, are currently required to provide detailed information about the individual selling the secondhand items, including a thumbprint, as well as a description of the object itself.
And that is where antiques came into play. In previous years’ incarnations of the bill, antique dealers have been exempted from participating in the Act. House Bill 192 sought to change that.
“This is not a bill about law enforcement,” said Sandy Antique Mall owner Randy Tanski. ”Basically, the pawn shops are jealous because we can buy off the street without restrictions.”
According to Tanski, the legislature tried to do the same last year with House Bill 402.
“This police sergeant was shopping up front,” Tanski said, “And while I helped him, he said, ‘Oh yeah. They’re passing a bill that’s going to make you guys like pawn shops.’ And I went, ‘Uh oh.’”
That is when Tanski contacted his representative, Todd Kiser. And H.B. 402 kept its antique dealer exemption.
“We owe everything to him,” Tanski said. “He helped us pull it off last year. He didn’t ask for anything. In fact, he ran the risk of making the other legislators mad by stymieing them.”
So when Kiser, a republican from District 41, called again this year, saying that a last minute bill, H.B. 192, tried to bring antiques back into the Act, Tanski got mad.
“You gotta be kidding me,” he said. “These pawnshop guys are gonna tell me what I can do as an antique dealer? No way!”
With Kiser’s help, Tanski organized an informal meeting with Lockhart. Several area dealers attended to voice their concern over the bill. Those present included Monica Zoltanski from Sisters Home, Stephanie Links from Pink Door, Dave Litvin from Litvin Art Gallery, Scott Evans from SLC Antiques, Gary Thompson, Tonya Mahood from Antionettes, and others.
Tanski described the animated meeting as heated, but ultimately, worthwhile.
Other dealers also indicated urging their own representatives to not support House Bill 192.
Later that day, Lockhart substituted the existing bill for one that keeps the Antique dealer exemption intact.
In 2004, the California Pawnbrokers Association introduced legislation to expand the definition of “second hand goods dealer in their pawnbrokering statute. It was defeated. That same legislation has appeared in one form or another in 2005, 2006 and 2007. This is the second year this has come before the legislature in Utah.
“Will we see it next year?” said Tanski. “Count on it.”