New Louisiana Law Makes Junk Dealers All But Outlaws

This hasn’t gotten as much attention as it should. But it’s a good bet that will change, because lots of perfectly law-abiding citizens are going to be badly inconvenienced by being made criminals due to it.

Fred Sanford is rolling in his grave.

Cold hard cash. It’s good everywhere you go, right? You can use it to pay for anything.

But that’s not the case here in Louisiana now. It’s a law that was passed during this year’s busy legislative session.

House bill 195 basically says those who buy and sell second hand goods cannot use cash to make those transactions, and it flew so far under the radar most businesses don’t even know about it.

“We’re gonna lose a lot of business,” says Danny Guidry, who owns the Pioneer Trading Post in Lafayette. He deals in buying and selling unique second hand items.

“We don’t want this cash transaction to be taken away from us. It’s an everyday transaction,” Guidry explains.

Guidry says, “I think everyone in this business once they find out about it. They’re will definitely be a lot of uproar.”

The law states those who buy or sell second hand goods are prohibited from using cash. State representative Rickey Hardy co-authored the bill.

Hardy, of course, is the dumbest guy in the state legislature. He’s the guy who authored the “Pants On The Ground” bill last year and embarrassed the state in the bargain. He’s a prolific author of laws which apparently seek to make criminals out of as many Louisianans as possible.

And HB 195 is his masterstroke.

What’s the point of this law? Mainly to stop thieves from profiting off the pilfering of copper wiring from construction sites and other exposed areas, for example, and to otherwise keep “fences” from getting hold of stolen swag with off-the-books cash transactions.

The bill defines a “second-hand dealer” as “Anyone, other than a non-profit entity, who buys, sells, trades in or otherwise acquires or disposes of junk or used or secondhand property more frequently than once per month from any other person, other than a non-profit entity.” Which is an awfully broad definition comprising all kinds of people. And for all those people the bill restricts transactions pretty severely…

A secondhand dealer shall not enter into any cash transactions in payment for the purchase of junk or used or secondhand property. Payment shall be made in the form of check, electronic transfers, or money order issued to the seller of the junk or used or secondhand property.

Not only that, but the law also requires the dealers to give folks they do business with the runaround. For every transaction a secondhand dealer has to take down the seller’s name, address, driver’s license number and the license plate number of the vehicle in which the goods were delivered. They further have to write down a detailed description of everything they bought and then e-mail all of that to the local police with daily e-mails. And it’s illegal for the dealer to complete the transaction if the seller can’t or won’t provide all the information the law demands.

It’s also now illegal for somebody under 18 to sell junk. We’re now denying kids the right to engage in perfectly legitimate business transactions just because.

Again – this law requires second-hand dealers to e-mail the police every day with a written description of every transaction they engage in with sellers. Detailed communication of routine business activity to the government DAILY is now legally required in Louisiana for people engaged in legal, legitimate business activity.

Not to mention that this law runs right into federal law, specifically Section 5103 of title 31, United States Code…

§ 5103. Legal tender

United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues. Foreign gold or silver coins are not legal tender for debts.”

This thing will have the state in court by the end of the year, and the state will lose. Badly. On a number of legal fronts. Lots of money will be wasted in the process.

Hardy deserves to be run out of the House of Representatives on a rail for having authored such an obscene affront to personal freedom. We don’t do a lot of endorsements in local races here at the Hayride, but we’ll make one here. Roshell Jones and Vincent Pierre are running against Hardy, and we’ll offer a dual endorsement. Either one would be fine – they might be communists, for all we know, but at least getting Hardy out of the legislature would offer the benefit of eliminating the blizzard of stupid, totalitarian legislation coming out of his head.

But the shame of this idiocy doesn’t just lie on Hardy’s head. He had a whole bunch of co-sponsors for this legislative turd. The list..

Rep. Clifton Richardson (R-Baton Rouge)
Rep. Bobby Badon (D-Carencro)
Rep. Regina Barrow (D-Baton Rouge)
Rep. Wesley Bishop (D-New Orleans)
Rep. Thomas Carmody (R-Shreveport)
Rep. Franklin Foil (R-Baton Rouge)
Rep. Reed Henderson (D-Chalmette)
Rep. Kay Katz (R-Monroe)
Rep. J. Rogers Pope (R-Denham Springs)
Rep. Stephen Pugh (R-Pontchatoula)
Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport)
Rep. Major Thibaut (D-New Roads)
Rep. Thomas Wilmott (R-Kenner)
Sen. Dale Erdey (R-Livingston)

The bill, in fact, sailed through the House of Representatives on a unanimous vote after passing through the House Commerce Committee 10-0. And when it got to the Senate it passed on a 34-1 vote. The only dissenter was Sen. Neil Riser (R-Columbia), who was at least smart enough to recognize what a mess his colleagues were cooking up.

There are some quality legislators on the list of sponsors, and that’s disappointing.

Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the bill on July 1.

One wonders how much attention was actually paid to this bill as it sailed through the process. One imagines it was sold as the bill that would stop those ghetto kids from stealing all that copper wiring, and so everybody voted for it – not even pausing to think about the regular folks who get to be criminals now for engaging in perfectly normal business activity.

Can anybody imagine Fred Sanford sitting down at his computer at the end of the day and e-mailing a log of all his junk transactions to the cops? Maybe Hardy thinks that would be Lamont’s job.

UPDATE: Ace Of Spades weighs in

Here’s the thing: The State could pass a lot of laws to make sure the police always “have a lead” when there is a crime. The State could, if it were permitted to do so, make virtually everything an onerous task involving a digital trail.

Hey, why not mandate that all cars have a chip in them that reports, in real time, the vehicle’s position to a central police computer? That would make it easier for the State to prove a case in some situations.

They don’t see the problem here? Perfect law enforcement is not the end-goal of the State. Guaranteeing freedom is. And yes, that means that some laws you could possibly pass to make it easier to lock up criminals can’t be passed, because you can’t burden a thousand people and reduce their liberty to make sure you have a better criminal case against one thief.

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