Early progress in 2023

Updates from around the country show substantial progress in the public banking movement in the U.S.

BREAKING — Massachusetts: Late last week, a new state public bank bill was introduced in both houses, sponsored by State Rep. Mike Connolly, State Rep. Antonio F. D. Cabral, and State Sen. James B. Eldridge. HD.2677 (House) and SD.1589 (Senate) incorporate recommended technical and language adjustments to the bill introduced last session (2021-22), honed through close work with the State Treasurer, CDFI leaders, and banking regulatory bodies including the Federal Reserve.

Oregon: OR State Senator Jeff Golden has introduced two public banking bills. The first, introduced with State Representative Mark Gamba, HB 2763, would create a task force that would study and make recommendations for comprehensive public bank legislation to be delivered to the Assembly by Jan 31, 2024. The second, SB 501, would create a state bank. The Oregon Public Bank Alliance is supporting the task force bill and has outlined a three-year campaign for passage of a successful state bank bill.

Tennessee: TN State Senator Frank Niceley is working on a bill for a state public bank on the model of the Bank of North Dakota, to be introduced by January 29. Catherine Austin Fitts, former Asst. Secretary of H.U.D., posted a favorable interview of Niceley on the bill here.

East Bay: Public Bank East Bay’s Viability Study has been approved by Richmond and Oakland, including approval of valuable city staff time toward the project. PBEB advocates continue their work toward gaining commitments from other regional cities as founders and depositors, and on writing the business plan.

Philadelphia: A resolution to form a Philadelphia Public Finance Authority received a nearly unanimous approval, 15 – 1, by the City Council last March. Mayor Jim Kenney has refused to implement the mandated board appointments, but Philly advocates are pushing ahead in seating the board members for the Public Finance Authority that they’ve identified and vetted. The primary for electing a new mayor is scheduled for May 17, and five of the ten candidates running for the position are former City Councilmembers who voted for the Financial Authority. Prospects are therefore good.

New Mexico: The Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity (AFLEP) has shifted the window in which they expect to introduce their legislation from this year’s 60-day session to next year’s 30-day session, based on new opportunities likely to improve the bill’s chance of success. The newly inaugurated State Treasurer, Laura Montoya, is a strong supporter of a public bank and AFLEP wants to work with her to strengthen their case. In parallel, AFLEP has chosen a strategy to work with their allies to identify other legislative priorities besides a public bank that would also expand local economic prosperity.

Texas: A surging state-wide populist movement has prompted Whitfield Krueger, an Applied Anthropology masters student at the University of Northern Texas, to survey public officials and treasurers throughout Texas to gauge their awareness of and receptivity to the Bank of North Dakota public banking model. Whit reports that survey participants are open to public banking reforms and ideas, especially in the rural corridor and inner city where the failure of public/private partnerships is apparent. Also tapping into the populist surge, public banking advocate Janis Richards is running for Congress in District 10.

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