Louisiana Outlaws Cash For Trading Used Goods More Than Once A Month

In order to combat the rising threat of metal theft, Louisiana passed a law that prohibits anyone who trades used property more than once a month from conducting that transaction in cash. This should cut down on metal vultures stripping down the infrastructure to turn it into money for their drug habit. However, this also means you can’t really hold a garage sale more than once every 30 days without some burdensome restrictions.

The law excludes non-profits and pawn shops. But flea markets, trading posts, and even the mom who wants to have more than one garage sale a month are caught up in the crossfire too. The new law will now require them to keep detailed records of every transaction, only accept personal check, money order, or electronic transfer, and log their customers’ ID’s.

“The government is placing a significant restriction on individuals transacting in their own private property,” local lawyer Thad D. Ackel, Jr. Esq told KLFY. “Lawmakers in Louisiana have effectively banned its citizens from freely using United States legal tender,” he added in an online article.

Pawnshops have had to keep detailed records for a long time, but under the new law they will still be allowed to transact in cash.

The law passed both houses with only one nay vote.

Read the law here
Second Hand Dealer Law [KLFY] (Thanks to GitEmSteveDave!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. MrEvil says:

    Once again, Politicians passing a law that has the best of intentions then not giving a shit about the unintended consequences.

    • atthec44 says:

      I would have expected this from the party who says things like, “If you love me, you’ve got to help me pass this bill” & “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”.

      But apparently, the Louisiana legislature is full of a bunch of Rinos.

      • psm321 says:

        You mean like the PATRIOT Act and TARP, right?


        Passing short-sighted items with no concern about the long-term effects seems pretty “R” not only in name!

        • atthec44 says:

          Or “D”, depending on your political affiliation.

          • ballistic90 says:

            Seriously, you are the worst troll I have ever seen.

            • atthec44 says:

              Really? I think you’re getting a little loose with your accusation of trolling. I never realized that it’s considered trolling to point out that R’s think D’s do everything wrong and D’s think R’s do everything wrong.

      • Sudonum says:

        No, I live in Lafayette, where KLFY is based and trust me there are no RINO’s in this legislature. At least not in the way Grover Nordquest or the Tea Party defines RINO. These people are all dyed in the wool “Republikans” who would rather cut off their arm than support anything remotely progressive, lest it come back to haunt them on election day.

        What happened here was a key Republican constituency, Builders, of which I am one (builder, not a member of the GOP) have had problems with copper theft at job sites. In one instance the site that was vandalized belonged to a scrap metal dealer who, in a twisted bit of fate, bought back his own wiring from the thieves. So the idiots in the State Legislature passed this misguided law in response. Typical of Louisiana politics regardless of who holds the strings.

    • Michael Belisle says:

      Yes, a law that sort of addresses the problem, but then is written so broadly and lazily that it catches all sorts of people not intended to be caught by it. They clearly tried to define all the possible variations of a scrap dealer, but went about it in a phenomenally stupid way: “every individual, firm, corporation, entity or partnership … including junk shops, junk yards, auto wreckers, scrap metal dealers….”

      If the clause starts with “everyone”, there’s no real point of listing out specific groups included in “everyone” now is there?

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        It also probably won’t address the problem, because some enterprising middleman could and probably will offer the junkies 50 cents on the dollar (multiple transactions? what do you mean? I just found this stuff in the street….), and then sell a few truckloads to the scrapyard all at once each month.

      • skylar.sutton says:

        Exactly, we all get what they were trying to do… but it was executed so poorly (as is typical of most government now days).

        Pawn shop laws work quite well for tracking down stolen property (pawn shops must keep a detailed record on who sold them the item)… why not just extend that to any facility that “buys or trades used metals”? Those five words would collect all of the scrap dealers but exclude steel plants and garage sales.

    • smartypants503 says:

      Cuts down on druggies but you can hold only one garage sale every month? Sounds good. If you are having more than one garage sale a month, you are running a business.

  2. Tim says:

    What about consignment stores? Vintage clothing stores? Used car dealers (I guess very few people pay in cash there, but still, detailed records and all)?

    Beyond that though, this isn’t going to really cut down on crime. If people are already committing these crimes, I doubt they’ll stop because what they’re doing is MORE illegal.

    • kc2idf says:

      Predictably, they will just close up.

      Now, here’s my first thought on how to kill this: Someone from Arkansas, Mississippi or Texas and who lives near the state line goes to a garage sale, scrapyard, or whatever on the other side of the state line in Louisiana and performs some sort of used goods transaction. The used goods were either brought over the state line to sell, or are brought over it in the other direction after the sale. Now it’s interstate commerce and you can get the feds involved.

      The Interstate Commerce clause has been invoked in the past on far flimsier grounds than that.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    This will irk my neighbors, who have a garage sale every weekend.

    It sucks to be poor, as well as live near them.

    • Jawaka says:

      If you have a garage sale more then once a month then it’s a business, not a garage sale any more.

      • Kuri says:

        Or you have a lot of crap to get rid of. A house around the corner from me had a garage sale every week two months because their basement was stacked floor to ceiling.

      • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

        Isn’t it considered a hobby if it loses money? But you only have five years to declare it as a hobby. This could be in Indiana only.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      In my city you can only have two garage sales a year and they can’t last more than three days. Mine last weekend only lasted one day. All I got was old people with handfuls of change. Guess everyone is tapped out!

  4. ole1845 says:

    Who wants to have a garage sale more than once a month??? This is supposed to be a hardship?

    • pop top says:

      Say that you plan on having a garage sale because you’re moving soon. You have it for one weekend, but you still have a lot of stuff left over that you could sell. Why not have another garage sale, or maybe two, to get as much money out of your stuff as you can before trashing/donating it?

      • Rachacha says:

        In most cases, the tax deduction is worth more than the actual cash value you could get for the item at a garage sale.

        We just moved and had a 1 day garage sale. We sold a significant portion of the stuff we did not want (bringing in a couple thousand dollars), and priced the things to move. Whatever was left over we put at the curb with a free sign on it or donated to charity.

        • pop top says:

          In some cases yet, but who cares? If someone wants to have more than one garage sale (as long as it’s not excessive or driving the neighbors crazy or breaking local ordinances), who cares?

        • milehound says:

          That’s true if you already itemize your taxes for a larger deduction (eg, mortgages, healthcare costs > 7.5% of income). If, like the majority of Americans, you take the standard deduction, you’re better off selling the stuff on eBay.

    • Sarahlara says:

      There was, for a while, a growing market of people buying unclaimed storage unit contents and then selling them at their private yard sales. I have a perpetual yard sale next to me, and I have to say it looks bad.

      I heard now that “everybody” is buying storage units, they aren’t as cheap so there are fewer of these constant yard & garage sales.

  5. deathbecomesme says:

    Louisiana! Who the hell are you electing to office! Did no one read the damn bill?

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      Sounds like the same crew in Congress in Washington. They don’t read bills either.

      • deathbecomesme says:

        Atleast the crew in Washington has some sort of talking points handed to them that are “perfected” by special interest groups lol. This just looks like they didn’t even know what they were voting for. Just sounded good at the time. Who voted nay? Because he/she deserves a pat on the back and another term

    • GearheadGeek says:

      You’ve clearly never paid attention to Louisiana politics. This qualifies as a high-brow, well-designed bill compared to some of the hijinks I saw while living in New Orleans. While I was there, David Duke (of the KKK) made it to the runoff in the gubernatorial election. His opponent was Edwin Edwards, who had been tried for corruption during a prior term and served prison time after his election in question. All over the state people had bumper stickers that said “Vote for the crook! It’s important!” Edwards won handily.

  6. Brontide says:

    Might as well shutdown CL in Louisiana.

    • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

      I know. In the few weeks prior to a move a few months ago I was a Craiglist PIMP! The neighbors probably would have thought I selling drugs if people hadn’t all been arriving empty handed and leaving with couches, coffee tables, dishes, paintings and special edition never-been-opened Monopoly games.

  7. full.tang.halo says:

    Unintended consequences, cause why think outside the tiny, narrow, corner of whatever box your working in.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    People who sell stolen goods are already working outside any area that would create paper trails. And since pawn shops are excluded, this still doesn’t stop people from selling stolen property to pawn shops that turn a blind eye to the source.

    • purecajn says:

      But the Pawn shops are usually ran by owned/ran by ex/current officers. Even if it isn’t Pawn shos are heavly regulated for stolen property.

    • Michael Belisle says:

      I’ll open up a pawn shop that deals exclusively in scrap metal.

    • Sudonum says:

      Pawn shops here are regulated and are required to gather all of the sellers pertinent information. Scrap metal dealers, on the other hand, could simply weigh the metals, calculate the value, and hand over the cash. No ID needed. A better law would have been to require the scrap metal dealers to gather the same information that pawn shops are required to and leave it at that.

  9. Shorebreak says:

    There is a whole underground economy out there based on cash-only transactions that avoids taxation at any level. Perhaps the State of Louisiana is onto something besides just to “combat the rising threat of metal theft”.

    • ballistic90 says:

      I’m sorry, I couldn’t read your post. I was too enthralled with the adorable Capybara in your avatar pic.

      At least, I think that’s a Capybara, or an oversized guinea pig.

  10. freeformed says:

    So they have outlawed Legal Tender and Free Trade? Better get the Tea Party on this ASAP.

  11. pythonspam says:

    For all you, “rabble-rabble-big-government-rabble”, How would you suggest curbing the theft of metal (AC units, copper pipes from construction sites, ENTIRE BRIDGES, etc)?
    Scrap yards fulfill a need we have to recycle no-longer-necessary materials; they just need to be prevented from continuing to accept stolen goods.

    • pop top says:

      So then make laws that affect only scrap yards, not garage sales and flea markets.

    • atthec44 says:

      Make theft of metal illegal? Would that work?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      The bill did nothing to really target scrap metal sales.

      How about this: Sales of scrap metal require an state-issued ID and to be recorded to the state. THE END.

    • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

      I don’t have an answer on how to fix the problem. They’re the politicians and lawyers. Find a way to combat the problem without unduly infringing on the rights of lawful citizens. It’s what they’re there for.

      Ends don’t justify means, especially when the means seem stupid at least and unconstitutional at best.

    • Sudonum says:

      How about they just require scrap metal dealers to copy your ID like they do for pawn shops? I had copper stolen from a house under construction, the sheriff came out an took a report and said that’s about all they could do, can’t get finger prints off of lumber. I asked him about visiting scrap metal yards, his comment was that they weren’t required to keep records of who they bought from so it was useless. They later caught some people who had gone into a house that was completely finished because they left prints on the cabinets and counter tops.

  12. SlimDan22 says:

    Little extreme law, should be up to local government to decide such a law also , although i think there should be some limits on Garage Sales (Which is usually a city ordinance)

    Some people in my area treat Garage Sales as a form of income, having one every other day or every weekend, little excessive

    • Toffeemama is looking for a few good Otters says:

      Who has a garage sale every other day?

    • KainCooper says:

      There is a house in my town that has a yard sale every weekend Its basically a flea market in his driveway. Looks like he buys clearanced stuff in bulk and tries to make a profit. He lives on the county line so the law the city has for yard sales doesn’t apply to him.

  13. Cat says:

    “This note is legal tender for all transactions, public and private”

    While it may be legal for a business to refuse to accept cash, I would question the state’s authority to restrict all cash transactions.

  14. ARP says:

    Why not crack down on metal recyclers, similar to the rules related to Pawn Shops?

  15. Cat says:

    So, the criminals will just make ONE trip to the scrap yard a month, or get paid in Amazon gift cards or Canadian Tire Money? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Tire_money )

    • George4478 says:

      Canadian Tire Money? That sounds so loony.

    • Damocles57 says:

      However, if you are in need of quick cash for your daily drug habit, you might not have the ability to wait 30 days or more to sell your stolen metal. And, if you are homeless, where do you store your 30 day haul? And, if you have that much metal, how do you transport it? Maybe you steal a truck once month….

      I scrap metal about once a month. I noticed a sign on the door recently that stated “walk-in” recyclers could only sell aluminum cans and cardboard. All other metal types had to be delivered in a vehicle. My recycler tracks sales by license plate number, type and weight of metals sold, and requires ID for sales over $25 in one transaction. Don’t know if there is a law requiring it, but I suspect they don’t want to be stuck returning metals that were stolen that they paid for in cash.

  16. RavenWarrior says:

    Shouldn’t the title be “Louisana Outlaws Trading Used Goods For Cash More Than Once A Month?” The way it is already sounds like they banned buying used things instead of what they’re actually trying to do.

  17. xanxer says:

    Maybe requiring scrap metal dealers to follow that law would be more prudent. That seems to be where the problem of stolen metals and bridges lead to.

  18. Michael Belisle says:

    Mom should have hired better lobbyists if she wanted an exemption for the garage sale industry.

  19. Blueskylaw says:

    When they outlaw cash transactions, only outlaws will use cash.

  20. dolemite says:

    Er…why not just reform the system used by metal dealers/buyers. Pawn shops are subject to strict rules about stuff they buy, and have to work with police, looking for stolen goods, etc. Why not force metal buyers/recycling centers to do the same, rather than putting the burden on the other 99.999% of the population?

  21. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    obviously no one is starving and our economy is doing great. Thanks!

  22. purecajn says:

    How Convient. The Pawn shops are owned, or have close ties to the police anyway. As soon as someone challenges this in court the state will have to remove it.

  23. Cat says:

    Looks like Louisianians will have to buy meth only once a month.

  24. easymacfu says:

    Won’t someone please think of the hookers!

  25. JohnDeere says:

    sounds illegal. cash actually says something about being legal tender for all debts public or private. it says “all” not “just once a month for used goods”. (im just guessing at what it says, im way to poor to actually have any cash”

  26. Michael Belisle says:

    ” A secondhand dealer who obtains the required statement from the seller
    shall be exonerated from any fraudulent, willful, or criminal knowledge within the meaning of this Part.”

    Oh good. My scrap yard can still buy stolen goods, as long as the crackhead signs a statement saying he didn’t steal them. Awesome law.

  27. John from Huntersville says:

    Pawn Shops in many states are required to get fingerprints, drivers license numbers, and other identification when someone pawns an item.

    Why aren’t scrap metal dealers required to do the same? Thieves are stealing valuable bronze artworks, wiring, plumbing, and other metal items (even a bridge), then selling them to a scrap metal dealer.

    This would seem to be a no-brainer.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Many do. But the vigilance is the problem. Some will take any ID, even if it is clearly fake, because then the crime is on the person for handing over false ID, in their eyes.

  28. poolejc says:

    So can they only make 1 cash transaction at their yardsale. Do you have to shut down your yardsale after your first cash transaction if you don’t want the hassle of checks. Or do you have to plan all of your cash transactions for the month on one day?

  29. DrPizza says:

    Well, hurray for one thing – the city I used to live in finally passed an ordinance that allowed no more than 2 days of garage sales per year for a house. (That meant, Friday and Saturday = 2 garage sales.)

    Places that have a garage sale every weekend aren’t houses – they’re businesses. Granted, really crappy businesses selling incredibly low quality merchandise, but businesses nonetheless.

  30. ahecht says:

    I can’t find anything in the text of the bill that would exempt non-profits, only “municipalities, political subdivisions, and utility companies”. This bill would also shut out Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, as well as used book & record stores. It would even prevent school bookstores from selling used textbooks for cash.

    HOWEVER, as I read the bill, it doesn’t impact yard sales at all, since it only applies to those “engaged in the business of purchasing and reselling any of the materials provided for in this Part located either at a permanently established place of business or in connection with a business of an itinerant nature, including junk shops, junk yards, junk stores, auto
    wreckers, scrap metal dealers or processors, salvage yards, collectors of or dealers in junk or secondhand property, and junk trucks”.

  31. dush says:

    what about sperm banks?

  32. Starfury says:

    Simple way to work around this. I do a garage sale them my wife, then the kids. That’s 4 per month we could do.

  33. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    Typical ploy using the fear of the month to curtail more freedom and squeeze more tax revenue out of regular folks.

    Politicians. If they’re not legislating for corporations they’re legislating how to get more tax money out of regular people. Politicians everywhere pretty much no longer speak for, represent or give a crap about the people.

  34. RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

    Something tells me this won’t stand Constitutional review. While the State can certainly curtail certain types of transactions when the substances themselves are outlawed, telling me I can’t sell used (legal) merchandise and conduct the transactions the way I see fit is going to get a big “Fuck you, I’mma do it anyway, and all y’all bitches can go to hell.” Louisiana is clearly overstepping it’s bounds here, and deserves all the middle fingers one can possibly give it.

  35. Velvet Jones says:

    Won’t this run afoul of Federal law? As the lawyer quoted in the article states, this in effect heavily restricts citizens from using legal tender. I think Federal law would trump here.

  36. Velvet Jones says:

    Won’t this run afoul of Federal law? As the lawyer quoted in the article states, this in effect heavily restricts citizens from using legal tender. I think Federal law would trump here.

  37. Fine Material says:

    Isn’t this a violation of federal law?
    Right on cash it says “This note is legal tender for debts, public and private”.

    Now Louisiana says “except in Louisiana”. They cannot supersede federal law.

  38. Linoth says:

    Surprised that no one has brought up Gamestop. Now they’re going to have to classify themselves as a pawn shop in Louisiana and keep records, or they’re going to have to stop paying out cash.

  39. H3ion says:

    Why just yesterday I saw a steel bridge for sale at a local garage sale.

  40. quail says:

    Before this was an issue, lots of cities and municpilaties outlawed garage sales more than once a month. It kept jerkwads from running a weekend business from their home without the proper paperwork. Want to sell junk every weekend? Then drive your but down to the flea market and buy a $20 space. Just keep it and your traffic out of my neighborhood. Etc.

    Growing up in the early 80s someone in the neighborhood did this. She would hit garage sales looking for stuff while her daughter stayed at home & ran a weekly garage sale out of her house. Went on for a good year with polite letters from the city asking her to stop. Neighbors got upset enough about losing their weekend quiet that they contacted the state about a business being ran from the woman’s house. It was only then that she was forced to quit her business or face jail for not filing state tax paperwork.

  41. Rhinoguy says:

    PUHLEEZE! This has nothing to do with drug users. It has to do with asserting control over something that doesn’t need controlling. I have watched many City Council meetings where similar laws have been passed. Almost always when the one member will say “that’s not the intent of the law”. I have frequently put forth “then put the intent of the law IN the law so there is no question about how it will be enforced.” The reply is always to the effect “we need to control this problem and this is the best way to do it.”
    Well, it’s never the best way and and it’s always about control for the sake of control. Control of something, anything. It’s about control.
    It happens at all levels of government, city, county, state, federal, just like taxes.

  42. Unicorn-Chaser says:

    Well my money says… “This note is LEGAL tender for ALL debts public and private”

    Sounds to me like the state if violating federal legal tender laws.