Two Small Steps from Statewide Change!

On September 11, 2019, AB857 passed the California Senate floor vote, with more votes than it needed!

On September 12, the California Assembly will vote on the amendments to the bill, all of which are likely to be acceptable to every assemblymember who voted Yes in June, and we hope more.

We’re asking for calls to undecided assemblymembers:

AssemblymemberRegionCapitol Phone
(D) Calderon, IanSan Gabriel Valley916-319-2057
(D) Cervantes, SabrinaRiverside County916-319-2060
(D) Cooley, KenE. Sacramento County916-319-2008
(D) Gray, AdamCentral Valley916-319-2021
(D) Grayson, TimothyEast and North Bay916-319-2014
(D) Kamlager-Dove, SydneyMid-City LA916-319-2054
(D) Muratsuchi, AlSouth Bay LA916-319-2066
(D) Petrie-Norris, CottieOrange County916-319-2074
(D) Reyes, Eloise GómezInland Empire916-319-2047
(D) Rodriguez, FreddieInland Empire916-319-2052

Please make your calls (or have your friends who live in those districts make them) tomorrow morning, 9/12. All you have to say is “Please vote yes on AB857, to enable local public banking.”

Once we pass the Assembly, only Governor Newsom’s signature stands between us and groundbreaking law. And he’s stated his support for public banking before, so that might be relatively straightforward.

Here’s an excellent, timely article, posted after the Senate floor victory, with a shout-out to us:

A public bank would have the backstop of guaranteed public deposits and a mandate to invest its funds locally in ways that improve living standards for residents.  There would be no shareholders, no cross-jurisdictional antics to avoid regulation and oversight, and no systemic risk generated by financial engineers in Manhattan.  Modeled after the Bank of North Dakota, but also the Sparkassen in Germany and other public banks around the world, a system of local public banks could help cities leverage their position as major customers of financial services (and the generator of safe, tax-incentivized municipal bonds) to demand greater financial independence and the concentration of investment in their localities, leading to higher employment and wages.


[Public Bank East Bay (formerly Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland)] was at the forefront of these efforts. Activists there advanced the project so far that they were poised to found their bank even before AB 857 gave them an explicit way to do so. San Francisco opened a task force to explore the possibility and state and local treasurers began their examinations as well.  Quickly, it became clear that intermingling public funds with cannabis money would be bad politics and likely impossible as long as marijuana is classified Schedule 1.  But even with that issue off the table, the appetite for greater financial independence in the form of public capital sources was growing, and with more attention came more knowledge, more scrutiny, and more opposition.

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