Wednesday, December 11

Monroe County Law Passage

Monroe County Local Law Entitled:  Regulating Pawnbrokers, Secondhand Dealers and Jewelry and Coin Exchange Dealers passed the legislature with a unanimous vote on Dec 10.  The pretext of the law states that it "will curtail the distribution and facilitate the recovery of stolen property in Monroe County"  and "is necessary for the protection of the citizens of Monroe County".   This law will do no such thing.  Big government excessive over-reach and red tape has shown it's hand again.

My antiques business is exempt from the law, so why bother with this?  Plain and simple:  I believe that any new law should be clear, understandable, straight forward, focused and formulated to resolve it's intended purpose.  Anything less than that is an travesty to the process of democracy and the rights of citizens of Monroe County.

To suggest that we now have a law that will curtail the distribution of stolen goods is absurd.  Think like a thief for just a minute.  Just exactly where might you go to unload something you stole? A shop that will document you and take your picture?  NO.  Online auction? That is probably a great guess.  The public open air markets for selling? Maybe. Seasonal yard sale?  Maybe.   A fence who has the next level up for easy distribution? Probably.  A storefront that is not required to document you?  Sure, why not!

The North American Industry Classification System NAICS establishes a way to classify business establishments. These are the federal guidelines by which all US businesses file their appropriate registrations and tax certifications under.  The definitions of the county law do not subscribe to the federal NAICS codes.  The terms in the new county law continually refer to secondhand dealers as if this covers all operations.  That is confusing.  Also, there is no such entity as a Jewelry and Coin Exchange Dealer.

By the very nature of exempting so many outlets in this new law, the intent of it is reduced to lucky at best.  And yet, the law will be promoted as a solution to finding stolen property.  It is false hope.  We could have been pro-active instead.  Our county would do a much better service by creating a system of responsive, direct, and easy access of communication between police agencies and shop owners.  For a shop owner to know what kinds of items are reported stolen recently is valuable information.  Any person who might walk into their shop would be immediately suspect and a quick phone call could alert police.

It will be interesting to see how this new law is implemented when it becomes effective in 2014.  I strongly suspect the Sheriff Dept. will require additional funds for help with the licensing requirement procedures and the establishment and maintenance of it's data base system.  Policing this new law will be monumental.   For small business owners who must obtain licenses, simply meeting the requirements will likely force some businesses to close.   I really can't fathom that the unanimous vote for this bill suggests that legislators truly think they have helped solve crime in the county.   They only changed the game parameters.

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