July 4, 2010 - Another 140 Seneca Nation cigarette sellers received a temporary reprieve Friday from a federal law that stops the U. S. Postal Service from making commercial deliveries of cigarettes.
U. S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara issued another temporary restraining order, directing federal officials not to enforce the law against businesses associated with the Seneca Fair Trade Association.
The trade association lists several prominent Seneca business people — including Ross John, Richard Jemison, Sally Snow and Maxine Jimerson, a sister of Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder Sr. — among its directors and board members.
The group, which says it has about 140 members, asked Arcara on Thursday, July 1st to declare as unconstitutional the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act, commonly known as the PACT Act.
What's the final word..
Can Seneca tobacco businesses sell tax-free cigarettes to non-Indians on reservations?? New York law requires that cigarettes sold to non-Indians must be taxed, there is no law that says they must be taxed by Indians, and the tribes say as sovereign nations they are not required to act as tax collectors for the state.
Can Seneca tobacco businesses engage in Internet (online) and phone sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products without the collection of taxes??
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N. Y. has said, “If the Senecas have a really good and transparent way to prevent sales to minors — not using the PACT Act — I’d welcome it.” (NY State - Seneca Indians against U.S. Senator Gillibrand's support of bill to ban mailing of cigarettes..)
Daniel B. Moar, a lawyer for the group, contended that it is illegal and unconstitutional to prevent the Postal Service from delivering cigarettes for businesses. He claims Seneca owned businesses will lose more than 3,000 jobs if the PACT Act is enforced.
At this point, members of the Seneca Fair Trade Association and Aaron Pierce, a Seneca businessman who received another temporary restraining order from Arcara earlier this week, are the only businesses in America that are exempt from the law.
Arcara will hear legal arguments Wednesday, July 6th between attorneys for the Seneca businesses and the U. S. Justice Department.
The law, designed to shut down the nation’s mail order cigarette industry and to stop cigarette businesses from ducking tax payments, took effect Tuesday. It was signed into law by President Obama in late March, after Congress passed it by a wide margin.
Federal officials insist that the PACT Act is constitutional.
Another problem with Indians.. One in two cigarettes smoked in Ontario is illegal (illicit, smuggling, black market), robbing provincial and federal coffers of more than $2 billion a year and raising concerns about children gaining easy access to tobacco. The majority of contraband tobacco seized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from Britsh Columbia to Newfoundland come from the American side of Mohawk Indian reservation in New York State. (Canada, Ontario and Quebec - illegal cigarettes greater than 40% of consumption..)
Related news briefs:
Authority to regulate Internet cigarette sales made from an American Indian reservation in another state was upheld in a ruling by the Oregon Court of Appeals.;
NY State - Seneca Indians - lobbying against the PACT act..;
Collect Tax on Phone and Online Tobacco Sales, More Money for State Health Care Programs..
Reference: Seneca cigarette sellers get reprieve from law by Dan Herbeck (firstname.lastname@example.org), STAFF REPORTER, The Buffalo News, 7/3/2010.