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Legal Tender? Maybe Not, Says Louisiana Law 655

Posted by timothy
from the this-is-pretty-nuts dept.
First time accepted submitter fyngyrz writes "Lousiana has passed a law that says people may no longer use cash for second hand transactions. The idea is to make all transactions traceable, thus foiling copper theft, etc. This move has profound implications that range from constitutional rights to Bitcoin, Craigslist and so forth; I wonder if there are any Slashdotters at all that support such a move." On the list of exceptions: people who deal in used goods or "junk" less frequently than once per month, and (drumroll, please) pawn shops. That means a pretty big chunk of the population who post in online classified ads in Louisiana are probably already in violation.
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Legal Tender? Maybe Not, Says Louisiana Law

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  • That's not debt. (Score:4, Informative)

    by hedwards (940851) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:30PM (#37782428)

    It's only debt if the companies are accepting the goods without paying, as long as they pay up when the transaction occurs there's no legal requirement that they pay cash. Apple did a similar thing a while back when they refused to sell iPhones for cash.

  • by Verdatum (1257828) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:35PM (#37782564)
    I've wondered about this before. The wording of the law is at http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/31/5103.html [cornell.edu]

    I don't know if transactions are the same as "public charges" or not.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:37PM (#37782594)

    The first link in the summary contains the complete text of the bill. It does not ban cash transactions at all. Rather, it requires second-hand dealers to keep very thorough records of any cash transaction exceeding $25.

    This is a terrible law, and would make business difficult for a lot of people, and (depending on how it's interpreted) could make garage sales more trouble than they're worth. But it does not ban the use of cash. I kind of wish it did, because then it would be struck down. As it stands, the law may pass constitutional muster, and become an enormous pain in the ass for a lot of people.

  • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:39PM (#37782650)

    They aren't. This is why it's perfectly legal to refuse cash when you sell something. But you must accept cash for loan payments and any other repayments of debt.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:53PM (#37782968)

    You read the original, unammended bill.

    The bill as signed does indeed prohibit cash for second-hand transactions in Section 1864.3:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111019/17424316421/louisiana-makes-it-illegal-to-use-cash-secondhand-sales.shtml [techdirt.com]

  • by LoyalOpposition (168041) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:58PM (#37783076)

    It is legal tender, provided by the Federal Reserve (which isn't "federal" at all, it's a private bank).

    Actually, the Federal Reserve System is federal. Let me contrast it with the company where I work so you can see the differences.
    1. The FRS was created in 1913 by an act of congress. The place I work was incorporated in Delaware as a Delaware company.
    2. The FRS is lead by the Chairman of the Board of Governers who is appointed by the President of the United States. The place where I work is lead by the Chief Executive Officer, who is appointed by the Board of Directors.
    3. The FRS is run by the Board of Governors who are appointed by the President of the United States. The place where I work is run by the Board of Directors, who are selected by shareholders.
    4. Congress has oversight of the FRS. The place where I work, not so much.
    5. The government sets the salaries of the highest-paid individuals of the FRS. The place where I work, not so much.
    6. By law, the FRS has to give any profit over 6% to the United States Treasury. In 2010, the FRS made a profit of $82 Billion. They paid the Treasury $79 Billion. The place where I work, not so much.

    ~Loyal

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @05:15PM (#37783388)

    Indeed. It strikes me that simply signing an IOU and then immediately paying it ought to take care of the direct cash payment angle. Just make sure you save the IOU along with any invoices and other source documents, and I don't think there's anything the state could do about it.

    And thus you defeat the point of using cash.
    The IOU must be provided to the state, essentially upon demand, so they can track what you're buying and selling.
    If you can't produce an IOU, or any similar document listing what was sold and for how much and what the terms of payment were, then you'll be hit with this law.

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @05:25PM (#37783544)

    Why circumvent an illegal law. Yes Illegal. Currency is an issue that there is no doubt in the Constitution, it's a power expressly reserved to the federal government. It's exclusively federal precisely because they had so many problems with it during the articles of confederation where the US had several dozen different currencies that were all essentially worthless. The federal courts tend to take a dim view of any attempt by the states to circumvent federal currency and bank laws because the constitution is so very direct about that authority resting with the federal government.

  • Re:That's not debt. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @05:45PM (#37783876)

    Uh, no. A payment that occurs simultaneous to an acquisition is a settlement of debt. The fact that it occurs instantly (relatively speaking) rather than a week down the road, a year on, or whatever is quite irrelevant. There existed a debt. It is settled. The duration between creation and retirement of debt is paid for by interest. No duration, no interest. But still a cancelled debt.

  • by demonlapin (527802) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @09:56PM (#37786562) Homepage Journal
    That's a store that has a business presence. You're generally exempt as a private citizen from collecting sales tax until your total income goes over a threshold amount.

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