Let Title 55 reform start here, spread to next county, town

Police in Soddy-Daisy stop a woman in a private car under Title 55, the state transportation statute that gives police power over commercial users of the road. (Photo David Tulis)

My argument for Christian rebuilding in the Chattanooga area includes a God-honoring and constitution-promoting legal project that easily could be spread to people in other states.

The project is my transportation administrative notice effort which is the fruit of a lengthy study of the Tennessee transportation law and roadway system. This law is in the Tennessee code annotated titles 55 and 65, and also in the U.S. Code 49.

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio

My review finds an unmistakable distinction in the law blurred by the the courts, Gov. Bill Haslam, and sheriff’s departments and police agencies across the state. That is the distinction between travel (private movement) and transportation (for profit, commercial movement on the road). The project pries open the conflict between state government and its agencies on one hand and, on the other, the plain meaning of the words in the statute and many court cases and the people’s constitutionally guaranteed rights on the other.

The conflict is between law and policy, between plain meaning and an absolutist progressive state perspective on state power. It is between the existence of a private sector vs. the pretended claim of jurisdiction over that sector by the state and its myriad accomplices.

Red Bank is the most recent area municipal corporation to have received transportation administrative notice. Others to have been put under administrative notice of the law (pursuant to the uniform administrative procedures act) are Gov. Bill Haslam, the department of safety and homeland security, district attorney general Neal Pinkston, city of Chattanooga, city of East Ridge, city of Dayton and Hamilton County sheriff Jim Hammond,

Public policy is the current view of the meaning of the law, according to the definition of police power as found in Tennessee Jurisprudence, the leading encyclopedia about Tennessee law. But public policy and government practice are not the law itself, to which administrative notice makes appeal.

Personal capacity

But first, ideally, the idea will have an effect here in the Chattanooga. Red Bank city attorney Arnold Stulce has pretended not to have received the notice, so I am sending him an affidavit about service, which awaits his rebuttal.

Under administrative notice, individual departments and officers, as individual human beings, are informed about the scope of Title 55. The effect is that they are denied their usual remedy of “just following policy” or “I didn’t know” or “I didn’t intend” to oppress anyone’s rights. Under notice, personal liability is made to attach to every individual state actor in his personal capacity if he violates the law.

Whether it be a mayor, a police chief, a governor or a cop digesting the latest platter of donuts, notice puts individual state actors into contact with their promises to God (via their oaths of office) and their actions.

The policy out of Nashville is assumed as true by the three branches of government. Gov. Bill Haslam and all of his predecessors shared in this policy and enforce the policy of “all travel = transportation.”

The Tennessee supreme court supports the policy by refusing to hear appeals that are based on the law and challenge the rejection of the travel-transportation distinction via what scholars call “legal fiction.”

The general assembly has not once considered any legislation that would put into the statute an explicit recognition of the law as opposed to the policy. Such a proposal made partial headway in New Hampshire’s legislature, led by Rep. Dick Marple.

Now, if you’re wondering what I’m talking about, I’m coming back to the distinction between travel and transportation. Travel is the free use of the road by people undifferentiated and not making a profit as of their purpose or use of the road. Travel encompasses what is communication among the people living in the state, and others who pass through as visitors or newcomers. Transportation is the main subcategory of travel. It is a part of travel where the man or woman in the truck or car is making a living on the use of the road under state privilege or special favor.

The for-profit and commercial use of the road is called transportation. It implies that someone is being hired and has been engaged for pay to move either people or goods from point A to point B.

Because this use of the road is for private gain and private profit, it is understandable that the state in its sovereignty wants to regulate that use. Private use and use of the road for pleasure or for private purposes or private necessities or for the exercise of rights is not in view in regulation.

Rights not taxable, regulable

No regulator or taxing authority would ever dream of taxing anything that is a right. The taxing authority in the state has authority to regulate and tax only privileges. Privilege is a special grant or favor to do something which is illegal, unlawful or otherwise against public policy or the sovereignty of the corporate state.

The state, with some support in its argument, would say, yes, it is a privilege to use the roadways for hire and for private profit. That use of the road is subject to regulation because it is dangerous to people who are on the road. There is a risk attached to using a big truck or a dump truck or cement mixer or straight body hauling truck for profit on the road. Trucks break apart. Brakes fail. Overworked drivers and operators fall asleep and drift into oncoming traffic. And so trucking and shipping and transportation are subject to regulation.

But not private use. The parties identified as the “free people” in the state, who created the government and the state itself, do not have to make any account whatsoever to go about their private business. They are involved in no activity subject to state law or the state’s claim against their liberty.

Regulation has superstate origin

In the Chattanooga area, every local law enforcement agency, or LEA, enforces Title 55 broadly and illegally, as opposed to narrowly and lawfully. The regulation by LEAs of bus operators, ambulance companies, taxi outfits, shippers, dump trucks, movers and others traveling commercially on the highways in the public interest is lawful and is legal, and probably not unjust.

But common people have been subject to police enforcement ultra vires (outside the view) almost from the beginning. In the 1930s, the rise of fascism and the American superstate seems to have made any resistance as a matter of  law inconceivable. Today, it is conceivable, but appears impossible, given supreme court policy that favors policy over law, and commercial enforcement over a respect for the people’s rights.

One hundred percent of jurisdictions enforce commercial law on private people. How is it remotely possible that such enforcement can be thrown back? The only thing I can think of is administrative notice. Telling the story about the law. Bringing it to each state actor, personally or legally, and depriving him of the good faith defense that he didn’t know or hadn’t been informed prior to some oppressive and abusive act against an innocent member of the free people in the state of Tennessee.

Whether voluntarily or through tort action, officers, deputies and troopers will eventually learn that the law is real and that policy won’t protect them in acts they do personally under color of law.

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