Multiple people have passed along this notice going to the tourism industry from Stacy Hurst, head of state Parks, Heritage and Tourism.


The state is asking private businesses to check license tags in their parking lots and mentioning the possibility of “inquiries” into the purposes of those with out-of-state licenses to be in the state of Arkansas. This is in keeping with Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s executive order banning stays of “recreational” travelers at hotels, motels and rentals.

The state cannot ban interstate travel. But it can impose quarantines and other emergency restrictions within its borders. The New York Times recently compiled this national roundup.

SUSPICIOUS? It is in Arkansas motel parking lots,.

The Constitution also places limits on searches and seizures. As a general rule, for example, the police may ask you questions, but you are not required to answer and you may not be searched or arrested without probable cause. See ACLU guidance.  This guidance applies to law enforcement officers, agents of the state, not to questions from private parties. They can ask but they have no legal means of forcing you to answer or produce your papers.

A couple of readers have asked me if the state can do this. One said it reminded him of traveling in Franco’s Spain. The only answer I have: It did.



PS: I presume by ABC that Hurst refers to the agents of Alcoholic Beverage Control, who normally on parole for unlicensed sales, sales to minors, nipple exposure and the like in licensed premises, hot running license plate checks in motel parking lots.

PPS: Apparently ABC agents are dropping off the letters at hotels and motels, checking parking lots, inquiring about reasons for travel and sending info to the Health Department.

No word if the booze agents wear long leather trench coats and black hats with brims pulled down low when running these errands. I’m also reminded of Claude Rains and “letters of transit.”