Tenth Amendment Center: This Is What Winning Looks Like!

From Tenth Amendment Center
...from Tenth Amendment Center

When President Trump signed legislation legalizing industrial hemp into law, it was a huge win for liberty. And it happened because state’s acted first.

Make no mistake; hemp isn’t federally legal now because Congress suddenly embraced the Constitution. Politicians in Washington D.C. didn’t drink some magic elixir that turned them into liberty-lovers. Congressional leadership didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Hey, I think we need to let go of some of our unconstitutional power.”

Nope. Hemp is legal now because states nullified federal prohibition years ago.

Up until 2014, it was pretty much impossible to legally grow hemp in the U.S. Farmers had to get a permit from the DEA, a nearly impossible feat. In 2014, provisions in the farm bill signed by President Obama opened the door for hemp. It allowed hemp production, but for research purposes only. Commercial production was still illegal.

Even before the 2014 farm bill, a number of states ignored the DEA and licensed hemp production within their borders. As a result, hemp markets began to develop despite the feds. After the passage of the 2014 farm bill, more states legalized hemp. But they didn’t just limit their programs to research. By the time president Trump signed the 2018 farm bill, 17 states were expressly licensing commercial hemp production, even though the feds maintained it was illegal. And virtually all the states running “federally compliant” hemp research weren’t actually following the letter of the law. There were commercial hemp markets developing in those states too.

The fact that CBD is everywhere shows just how big hemp markets grew despite federal prohibition.

Congress completely legalized hemp production in 2018 because the politicians realized there was no way to maintain federal prohibition without state cooperation. States had already nullified hemp laws in practice and effect. Congress finally caught up with reality.

Don’t miss this key point:

Congress would have never legalized hemp if the states hadn’t acted first.

We won this victory from the bottom up. It wasn’t because of a petition, or a federal lawsuit, or because we finally voted in the right people to go to Washington D.C. We won this victory because states just said, “NO!” to the feds. Without state cooperation, the feds lack the personnel and recourses to enforce their federal laws and implement their unconstitutional programs.

This was a nullification victory – pure and simple!

Make no mistake; there is still work to do on the hemp issue. Listen to my latest podcast for a rundown of exactly the farm bill did and didn’t do, and the next steps states need to take. You can listen HERE.

Mike Maharrey
January 12, 2019 at 01:50PM

Tenth Amendment Center: Permission not Required: “Constitutional Carry” Bill Introduced in South Dakota

From Tenth Amendment Center
...from Tenth Amendment Center

PIERRE, S.D. (Jan. 11, 2019) – A “Constitutional Carry” bill introduced in the South Dakota House would make it legal to carry a firearm without a license in the state, fostering an environment hostile to federal gun control.

Sen. Lance Russell (R-Hot Springs) introduced Senate Bill 38 (SB38) on Jan. 6, with eight cosponsors from both chambers. The bill seeks to repeal numerous sections of state law requiring state residents to have a license in order to carry a concealed weapon, while still allowing county sheriffs to issue permits. Under current state law, residents are required to have a conceal carry license to have a weapon in their vehicle.

Former Gov. Dennis Daugaard rejected similar measures in the past, but with the election of Kristi Noem, supporters hope the legislation can be signed into law this time around. Gun shop owner Brandon Maddox told news station KSFY that a concealed carry permit is redundant.

“I think that the second amendment friendly people in the state of South Dakota would say that I had to have the background check when I bought the firearm, I passed the background check, I now legally own and possess this handgun. Why should I then have to go to my Sheriff’s Office and get a piece of paper and permission from him to now be able to carry this firearm concealed?”


While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.

The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing SB38 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.


SB38 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

TJ Martinell
January 11, 2019 at 01:33PM

Tenth Amendment Center: The Border Wall and Emergency Powers: Good Morning Liberty 01-11-19

From Tenth Amendment Center
...from Tenth Amendment Center

The border wall – and the partial “shutdown” is getting coverage all over. On this episode of Good Morning Liberty, Michael Boldin (follow) discusses the views of three experts on the issue – one constitutional attorney and two constitutional scholars and law professors. They all take a different approach but come to similar conclusions..


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Is a Presidential “State of Emergency” Constitutional?

The Border Wall and Presidential Emergency Powers

Using emergency powers to seize property and build the wall would set a horrible precedent

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Michael Boldin
January 11, 2019 at 12:54PM

Tenth Amendment Center: New Mexico Bill Would Limit Warrantless Electronic Data Collection, Hinder Federal Surveillance

From Tenth Amendment Center
...from Tenth Amendment Center

SANTA FE, N.M. (Jan. 11, 2019) – A bill prefiled in the New Mexico Senate would limit the warrantless use of stingray devices to track people’s location and sweep up electronic communications, and more broadly protect the privacy of electronic data. The proposed law would also hinder the federal surveillance state.

Sen. Peter Wirth (D) filed Senate Bill 199 (SB199) on Jan. 8. Titled the “Electronic Communications Privacy Act,” the legislation would help block the use of cell site simulators, known as “stingrays.” These devices essentially spoof cell phone towers, tricking any device within range into connecting to the stingray instead of the tower, allowing law enforcement to sweep up communications content, as well as locate and track the person in possession of a specific phone or other electronic device.

The bill would require police to obtain a warrant or wiretap order before deploying a stingray device, unless they have the explicit permission of the owner or authorized possessor of the device, or if the device is lost or stolen. SB199 includes an exception to the warrant requirement for emergency situations. Even then, police must apply for a warrant within 3 days and destroy any information obtained if the court denies the application.

SB199 would also bar law enforcement agencies from compelling a service provider or any person other than the owner of the device without a warrant or wiretap order. This would include actual communication content such as phone conversations, text messages and email, location information and other metadata such as IP addresses pertaining to a person or device participating in the communication.

A service provider could still share information voluntarily under the law. Law enforcement would have to destroy such information within 90 days unless it gets the consent of the owner or a court order.

Provisions in SB199 would severely limit sharing of any legally obtained data.

The legislation provides a legal remedy for anybody whose data is obtained in violation of the law.

A person in a trial, hearing or proceeding may move to suppress any electronic information obtained or retained in violation of the United States constitution, the constitution of New Mexico or the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The motion shall be made, determined and subject to review in accordance with the procedures provided in law.

A similar bill unanimously passed in both houses of the New Mexico legislature in 2017, but Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed the bill, saying she didn’t want to “burden law enforcement officials.” Martinez was term-limited out of office and Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham replaced her in 2019.


The federal government funds the vast majority of state and local stingray programs, attaching one important condition. The feds require agencies acquiring the technology to sign non-disclosure agreements. This throws a giant shroud over the program, even preventing judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys from getting information about the use of stingrays in court. The feds actually instruct prosecutors to withdraw evidence if judges or legislators press for information. As the Baltimore Sun reported in April 2015, a Baltimore detective refused to answer questions on the stand during a trial, citing a federal non-disclosure agreement.

Defense attorney Joshua Insley asked Cabreja about the agreement.

“Does this document instruct you to withhold evidence from the state’s attorney and Circuit Court, even upon court order to produce?” he asked.

“Yes,” Cabreja said.

As privacysos.org put it, “The FBI would rather police officers and prosecutors let ‘criminals’ go than face a possible scenario where a defendant brings a Fourth Amendment challenge to warrantless stingray spying.”

The experience of a Pinellas County, Florida, man further highlights the shroud of secrecy around the use of stingray devices, along with the potential for abuse of power inherent in America’s law enforcement community.

The feds sell the technology in the name of “anti-terrorism” efforts. With non-disclosure agreements in place, most police departments refuse to release any information on the use of stingrays. But information obtained from the Tacoma Police Department revealed that it uses the technology primarily for routine criminal investigations.

Some privacy advocates argue that stingray use can never happen within the parameters of the Fourth Amendment because the technology necessarily connects to every electronic device within range, not just the one held by the target. And the information collected by these devices undoubtedly ends up in federal databases.

The feds can share and tap into vast amounts of information gathered at the state and local level through a system known as the “information sharing environment” or ISE. In other words, stingrays create the potential for the federal government to track the movement of millions of Americans with no warrant, no probable cause, and without the people even knowing it.

According to its website, the ISE “provides analysts, operators, and investigators with information needed to enhance national security. These analysts, operators, and investigators…have mission needs to collaborate and share information with each other and with private sector partners and our foreign allies.” In other words, ISE serves as a conduit for the sharing of information gathered without a warrant.

The federal government encourages and funds stingrays at the state and local level across the U.S., thereby undoubtedly gaining access to a massive data pool on Americans without having to expend the resources to collect the information itself. By placing restrictions on stingray use, state and local governments limit the data available that the feds can access.

In a nutshell, without state and local cooperation, the feds have a much more difficult time gathering information. Passage of SB219 would strike a major blow to the surveillance state and would be a win for privacy.


By allowing defendants to suppress information obtained in violation of the law, SB61 would hinder one practical effect of NSA spying in New Mexico.

Reuters revealed the extent of such NSA data sharing with state and local law enforcement in an August 2013 article. According to documents obtained by the news agency, the NSA passes information to police through a formerly secret DEA unit known Special Operations Divisions and the cases “rarely involve national security issues.” Almost all of the information involves regular criminal investigations, not terror-related investigations.

In other words, not only does the NSA collect and store this data, using it to build profiles, the agency encourages state and local law enforcement to violate the Fourth Amendment by making use of this information in their day-to-day investigations.

This is “the most threatening situation to our constitutional republic since the Civil War,” Binney said.


SB199 will be officially introduced and referred to a committee when the New Mexico legislature convenes on Jan. 15.

Mike Maharrey
January 11, 2019 at 11:11AM

Tenth Amendment Center: North Dakota Bill Would End Civil Asset Forfeiture, Effectively Shut Federal Loophole

From Tenth Amendment Center
...from Tenth Amendment Center

BISMARCK, N.D. (Jan. 11, 2019) – A bill introduced in the North Dakota House would reform the state’s asset forfeiture laws to prohibit the state from taking a person’s property without a criminal conviction in most situations. Passage of the bill would also effectively close a federal loophole that allows police to circumvent more strict state forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the feds.

A coalition of 12 Republicans, including Senate President Pro Tempore and Majority Caucus Leader David Hogue, introduced House Bill 1286 (HB1286) on Jan. 3. Under the proposed law, the state could not proceed with asset forfeiture until the owner of the property has been convicted of or pled guilty to a criminal offense in most cases. HB1286 would also raise the standard of proof necessary in forfeiture cases to “clear and convincing evidence.”

The bill would also fully close the federal “equitable sharing” loophole in North Dakota with the following language.

A law enforcement agency may not refer or initiate a transfer of property seized under state law to a federal agency by way of adoption or equitable sharing of seized property for the purpose of the property’s forfeiture under federal law. All proceeds received by a law enforcement agency from equitable sharing, adoption, or other transfer of seized property to a federal agency for the purpose of the property’s forfeiture must be added to the state school fund as provided under section 29 – 27 – 02.1.

The proposed law would require asset forfeiture proceeds to be deposited in the school fund, eliminating the “policing for profit” motive in the current law. As it stands, North Dakota law enforcement agencies can keep 100% of proceeds up to $200,000.

HB1286 also includes detailed reporting requirements.

According to the Institute for Justice, North Dakota has some of the worst asset forfeiture laws in the country. Law enforcement only needs to meet the lowest possible standard of proof—probable cause—to forfeit property. When property has been used for illegal activity without the owner’s knowledge, the burden falls upon owners to prove their innocence in order to recover their property.

Passage of HB1286 would also take a big step toward closing a loophole that allows state and local police to get around more strict state asset forfeiture laws in a vast majority of situations. This is particularly important in light of a policy directive issued in July 2017 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the Department of Justice (DOJ).


A federal program known as “Equitable Sharing” allows prosecutors to bypass more stringent state asset forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the federal government through a process known as adoption. The DOJ directive reiterates full support for the equitable sharing program, directs federal law enforcement agencies to aggressively utilize it, and sets the stage to expand it in the future.

Law enforcement agencies can circumvent more strict state forfeiture laws by claiming cases are federal in nature. Under these arrangements, state officials simply hand cases over to a federal agency, participate in the case, and then receive up to 80 percent of the proceeds. However, when states merely withdraw from participation, the federal directive loses its impact.

Until recently, California faced this situation. The state has some of the strongest state-level restrictions on civil asset forfeiture in the country, but state and local police were circumventing the state process by passing cases to the feds. According to a report by the Institute for Justice, Policing for Profit, California ranked as the worst offender of all states in the country between 2000 and 2013. In other words, California law enforcement was passing off a lot of cases to the feds and collecting the loot. The state closed the loophole in 2016.

The proposed law would not bar state or local police from partnering with federal law enforcement in asset forfeiture cases initiated under federal law.

As the Tenth Amendment Center previously reported the federal government inserted itself into the asset forfeiture debate in California. The feds clearly want the policy to continue.


We can only guess. But perhaps the feds recognize paying state and local police agencies directly in cash for handling their enforcement would reveal their weakness. After all, the federal government would find it nearly impossible to prosecute its unconstitutional “War on Drugs” without state and local assistance. Asset forfeiture “equitable sharing” provides a pipeline the feds use to incentivize state and local police to serve as de facto arms of the federal government by funneling billions of dollars into their budgets.


HB1286 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

Mike Maharrey
January 11, 2019 at 08:48AM

Tenth Amendment Center: Rhode Island Bill Would Limit ALPR Use, Help Block National License Plate Tracking Program

From Tenth Amendment Center
...from Tenth Amendment Center

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Jan. 10, 2019) – A bill introduced in the Rhode Island House would prohibit “roadway surveillance,” including the use of automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) without a warrant in most situations. Passage into law would also place significant roadblocks in the way of a federal program using states to help track the location of millions of everyday people through pictures of their license plates.

A coalition of four Democrats introduced House Bill 5042 (H5042) on Jan. 9. The legislation would prohibit “roadway surveillance” and bar police from using ALPRs  unless “undertaken by law enforcement in the investigation of a particular violation, misdemeanor, or felony pursuant to a warrant or court order based on probable cause.”

H5402 defines “roadway surveillance” as:

“The act of determining the ownership of a motor vehicle or the identity of a motor vehicle’s occupants on the public roadways of the state or its political subdivisions through the use of a camera or other imaging device, or any other device, including, but not limited to, a transponder, cellular telephone, global positioning satellite, EZ-Pass, automated license plate recognition systems or radio frequency identification device, that by itself or in conjunction with other devices or information can be used to determine the ownership of a motor vehicle, the identity of a motor vehicle’s occupants or the mileage, locations, speed of travel and routes traveled by the motor vehicle.”

The proposed law would also bar state agencies from purchasing, receiving, or reviewing data from a private entity that has engaged in surveillance in a manner that would violate the law. H5042 would allow warrantless roadway surveillance in exigent circumstances and to locate missing persons.

The proposed law would put strict limitations on the retention and sharing of data gathered by license plate readers. Sharing of information would be prohibited without a court order. Any data that does not identify a violation of the law would have to be destroyed within 72 hours unless there is a court order for its retention. All data that does identify a violation of the law would have to be destroyed within one year after the citation is resolved by administrative payment, trial, or other final disposition.

Any information gathered in violation of the law would be inadmissible in court.

“Any evidence obtained as a result of surveillance use prohibited by this chapter shall be inadmissible in any civil action, except as evidence of a violation of this section. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to preclude any investigation otherwise based upon any legally sufficient cause.”

Passage of this bill would prevent the state from creating permanent databases using information collected by ALPRs, and would make it highly unlikely that such data would end up in federal databases.


As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the federal government, via the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), tracks the location of millions of vehicles through data provided by ALPRs operated on a state and local level. They’ve engaged in this for nearly a decade, all without a warrant, or even public notice of the policy.

State and local law enforcement agencies operate most of these tracking systems, paid for by federal grant money. The DEA then taps into the local database to track the whereabouts of millions of people – for the “crime” of driving – without having to operate a huge network itself.

ALPRs can scan, capture and record thousands of license plates every minute and store them in massive databases, along with date, time and location information.

Records obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) through open records requests encompassed information compiled by 200 law enforcement agencies that utilize ALPRs. The data revealed more than 2.5 billion license plate scans in just two years (2016 and 2017).

Perhaps more concerning, this gigantic sample of license plate scans reveals that 99.5 percent of this data was collected regardless of whether the vehicle or its owner were suspected of being involved in criminal activity. On average, agencies share this data with a minimum of 160 other agencies. In some cases, agencies share this data with as many as 800 other agencies.

Police generally configure ALPRs to store the photograph, the license plate number, and the date, time, and location of a vehicle’s license plate, which is bad enough. But according to records obtained by the ACLU via a Freedom of Information Act request, these systems also capture photographs of drivers and their passengers.

With the FBI rolling out a nationwide facial-recognition program in the fall of 2014, and the federal government building a giant biometric database with pictures provided by the states and corporate friends, the feds can potentially access stored photographs of drivers and passengers, along with detailed data revealing their location and activities. With this kind of information, government agents can easily find individuals without warrants or oversight, for any reason whatsoever.

Since a majority of federal license plate tracking data comes from state and local law enforcement, laws banning or even restricting ALPR use are essential. As more states pass such laws, the end result becomes more clear. No data equals no federal license plate tracking program.


H5402 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

Mike Maharrey
January 10, 2019 at 10:30AM

Tenth Amendment Center: DHS Has Helped Equip 400 Police Departments With Military-Grade Sound Cannons

From Tenth Amendment Center
...from Tenth Amendment Center

A recent article in the Mohave Valley Daily News revealed that the Arizona Department of Homeland Security is using grant money to equip Arizona police departments with military-grade sound cannons or Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD).
The Bullhead City Police Department received $54,000 in grant money to purchase a 100X model and a 450XL modelLRAD.

The mass media has known about Arizona DHS’s plan to equip police departments with LRADs for more than a decade but has remained largely silent.

A Washington Times article from 2009, titled “DHS helps local police buy military-style sonic devices” warned everyone that military-grade sound cannons, funded in part by federal homeland security grants, are being used against Americans.

“With the help of Homeland Security grants, police departments nationwide looking to subdue unruly crowds and political protesters are purchasing a high-tech device originally used by the military to repel battlefield insurgents and Somali pirates with piercing noise capable of damaging hearing.”

(Click here & here to learn how the NYPD has been using LRADs since 2004.)

An article in MuckRock warns that police departments across the country are purchasing different types of LRADs to be used against Americans. In fact, LRAD sells seventeen different types of sound cannons to law enforcement alone!

Hundreds of police departments have purchased sound cannons

LRAD boasts that 400 law enforcement agencies from across the country have purchased their sound cannons.

“Law enforcement and public safety agencies around the world, including over 400 U.S. cities, counties and states, use LRAD systems and support equipment.”

Unfortunately, DHS is not content with just equipping police departments with sound cannons.

According to LRADs “Applications” section numerous DHS run agencies and the Port of Corpus Cristi, Texas have acquired LRADs.

National Operations Center
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
Transportation Security Administration
U.S.Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Coast Guard Federal Emergency Management
U.S. Secret Service
Immigration and Customs Enforcement

LRAD mentions over and over again that their sound cannons are safe and not a weapon. Just like Taser, or should I say Axon, has been saying for years.

A look at Dan Richter’s website reveals why LRADs were created.

“LRAD can also be used too in military training ranges, to protect critical infrastructure such as ammunition depots, nuclear power plants (fixed installation remotely operated through Ethernet), military parades, natural and industrial disasters, crowd control (demonstration / riot), negotiation with terrorist and dangerous criminals (sound easily penetrates through cars and into buildings) etc.”

And that is exactly what sound cannons are designed to do, protect military installations. They were not designed to be pointed at protesters.

As Harvey Pryor warned in the Mohave Daily News article, “You have yet to describe it [LRAD] as a weapon,” resident Pryor said to Police Chief Brian Williamson. “It’s not just a sound system.”

U.S. courts are agreeing with Mr. Pryor but will it be enough to stop DHS?

Last year a New York Appeals court ruled that LRADs can cause “auditory pain, migraines, tinnitus, and hearing loss.”

“Several plaintiffs claimed that they still had periodic tinnitus as of the complaint’s filing (a year and a half after the protest) and at least one plaintiff said that he experienced constant ringing,” Katzmann added. “Another suffered nerve damage and hearing loss that required medical treatment. These impairments fit comfortably on the spectrum of injuries that this court has found sufficient to state a Fourteenth Amendment violation.”

Another lawsuit filed against the Phoenix Police Department’s usage of LRADs against protesters reveals that police pointed them at “children, elderly people, disabled people, and pregnant women”

Is it too late to stop DHS from turning police departments into a quasi-national police force? I hope not.

January 10, 2019 at 07:34AM