As the state plans to appeal the crack tax again, this time to the supreme court another legislator and I are preparing questions to the AG on some actions that Regan Farr has said he plans to implement to go after people who buy tobacco products in other states.
I was listening to a local political radio show (Lets talk frank)when this came out. A caller asked Regan Farr if he had checked into any of the constitutional issues raised by his proposal previous to implementing it. He admitted that he had not.
The other legislator and I both had some questions on our own but even more were raised with the more we found out about the plans for this new enforcement. A few questions were even sparked from some comments made in the press and in blogs.
Of course these questions are not in final draft form yet but some of the areas we plan to ask about are.
What is the legal jurisdiction of revenue agents. Is it just Tennessee or can they go into other states without probable cause or a warrant and stake out shopping centers Can they search cars coming across the border who were just at cross border shopping centers. Is that probable cause?
If seizing a persons car for a minimal amount of tobacco is legal and equitable for the "crime" committed?
Who legally has rights to enforce interstate commerce under the federal constitution?
Is seizing a persons car (similar to what was done with the crack tax) an admission of guilt, penalty or punishment previous to conviction?
and others questions.
Of course these are some of the areas we have some legal concerns with that may or may not be cleared up with a AGs opinion and may or may not help avoid more costly court cases.