Maine Representative: "Dare Greatly," Remember Workers Who've Lost Their Livelihoods, and Build a Public Bank

RussellHiRes.jpgFrom the quest by citizens of Maine for a state bank, a hero has emerged: Dianne Russell, a native of Western Maine who is serving her fourth term in the House. Actually, it's inaccurate to say Rep. Russell has "emerged" from the public bank campaign. Although young, Russell has already earned a reputation as an outspoken advocate for workers and their families, willing to think outside the box to shape policy discussions about economic security. In 2011, The Nation magazine named Russell "Most Valuable State Representative" in its Progressive Honor Roll. But in the context of public banking, Rep. Russell's bold statements framing a state bank as a tool to help working people might well make her a hero to the movement for financial autonomy and economic justice. On February 3, speaking before the state House Committee on Insurance and Financial Services, Rep. Russell gave one of the most compelling speeches I've ever heard, and in a relative few words, encapsulated the best reasons to keep fighting for public banking.

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In Hawaii, Another Try for a Public Bank

HI-USA-113399_comp_3.jpgAfter a couple of years off the public banking map, Hawaii is back on--and this time the emphasis is on "creating a state-owned bank to assist homeowners who are having trouble making their mortgage payments." So reports Jason Ubay of Pacific Business News, who adds:

House Bill 326 . . . proposes that several state departments led by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Division of Financial Institutions study the state's laws and report back to the Legislature before the start of the 2016 and 2017 legislative sessions. The report would determine the amount of state money needed to be transferred to the state-owned bank, and include legislation to establish a short-term purchase program for residential properties with mortgage problems.


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American Banker, Nation’s Preeminent Banking Journal, Strikes a Note on Public Banking

American Banker, founded in 1836, is America’s oldest and most important banking journal. Over half a million people read its five day-a-week news site every month, and over 35,000 people subscribe to the print version. Independent of any portion of the banking industry, American Banker has won accolades for its coverage of legislation, banking scandals, financial crises, and significant issues in banking and finance.

So when Kristin Broughton authored an article on public banks, we were immediately interested. Would the nation's leading banking journal give fair treatment to our alternative to Wall Street banks?

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Canadian Court Decision Has Revolutionary Implications For Banking

The mainstream media is vociferously ignoring a recent court ruling in Canada in a case involving two Canadians who sued to restore the Bank of Canada to its original operational philosophy and mission.

The case was originally filed on December 12, 2011 on behalf of members of the Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER). The suit sought to “restore the use of the Bank of Canada to its original purpose, by exercising its public statutory duty and responsibility. That purpose includes making interest-free loans to the municipal/provincial/federal governments for ‘human capital’ expenditures (education, health, other social services) and/or infrastructure expenditures.” In short, the original mission of the Bank of Canada was to be a public bank.

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New Mexico Moves Forward on Public Banking

As our supporters know, the Public Banking Institute played an important role in organizing and presenting at the September 2014 Santa Fe conference, which spurred the Santa Fe City Council and Mayor Javier Gonzales to move forward on public banking in the city. We are happy to report that Santa Fe is one step closer to a public bank: on January 28, the City Council voted to approve a feasibility study for such a bank.

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Coloradans Want Public Banks

Although Coloradans have been campaigning for public banks at the state and city levels since at least 2011, the movement has now taken off in full force. On January 31, the group Be the Change-USA sponsored a public banking conference with more than 120 attendees, moderated by Denver city officials and community bankers, and featuring speakers such as Ellen Brown, Mike Krauss, Gwen Hallsmith, and Nomi Prins.

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Maine to Consider Public Bank Bill

In Maine, a hearing has been scheduled for next week to consider a bill creating a state public bank and authorizing counties and municipalities to create their own banks.

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Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership a Danger to Public Banks?

Many people fear that secretive trade talks with corporate lobbyists may prohibit public rights to control common assets.

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New Mexico One Step Closer to a Public Bank

In September 2014, a well-attended public banking conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which the Public Banking Institute helped to organize, ended with a call to action for the city to explore the feasibility of a public bank. Speakers at the conference included Mayor Javier Gonzales, Richard Wolff, Ellen Brown, Gwen Hallsmith, Thomas Keidel, Alan Webber, Mike Krauss, and Craig Barnes.

Now, the city is moving forward.

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Public Banking: It's About the Movement, About the Demand

Alexis Goldstein's excellent coverage of the culmination of Vermont's struggle for a public bank raises a vital point about being in a movement. In Vermont, advocates didn't get (haven't yet gotten) the holy grail of a bonafide public bank. But the compromise they facilitated still constituted a win over big Wall Street banks.

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