I’ve read about a lot of really stupid ideas in my time but this one from the halls of the Louisiana state government has to rank up there as one of the most ridiculous idea yet.
Proclaiming the law as a way to help law enforcement fight the sale of stolen goods Louisiana has decided to make the ability to pay cash for second-hand goods illegal.
Yes you read that right. It is now illegal in the state of Louisiana to use a piece of paper that is clearly stamped “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” (as well as “In God We Trust”) to buy second-hand merchandise.
State representative Rickey Hardy, co-author of the bill, says that the bill is targeted at criminals who steal anything from copper to televisions and then sell them to make a quick buck. The idea is that by forcing a paper trail the police will have an easier time tracking down offenders.
Here is the section of the bill that deals with this, and that was buried so deep in the re-written bill that most businesses don’t even know the law exists.
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 and made payable to the name and address of the seller. All payments made by check, electronic transfers, or money order shall be reported separately in the daily reports required by R.S. 37:1866.
I’m wondering how long it will be before this is challenged in courts. Hopefully not long but in the meantime Techdirt has the full text of the bill available as an embed in case you are interested.