On April 24, California’s two pending public banking bills, Assembly Bill 857 and Senate Bill 528, both passed their second committee hearings in the state legislature. SB 528, which would convert California’s existing Infrastructure and Development Bank into a true depository bank, passed the Senate Banking Committee; while AB 857, a bill to more easily enable cities to charter public banks, passed the Assembly Local Government Committee.
AB 857 passed its first hearing in the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee on Monday, April 22, after a robust debate between the bill's co-authors, Assemblymembers David Chiu and Miguel Santiago, and Wall Street lobbyists. Susan Harman from Public Bank East Bay and the California Public Banking Alliance reports that at the committee hearing yesterday, April 24, a “cliff-hanger, last minute, crucial Yes vote” came in to pass the bill.
The success followed an enormous groundswell of support for AB 857 from over 80 organizations (Facebook link) across California that have united to say yes to public banking. The Alliance posted:
“The power of the people triumphs over Wall Street lobbyists! Thank you to our powerful coalition of activists and advocates who came out to support the public banking movement!”
The vote for SB 528 was 4 Ayes to 0 Noes. It now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The vote for AB 857 finished at 4 Ayes to 2 Noes. It heads next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, before going to the full Assembly. From there debate will move to the Senate. Four major cities have passed resolutions supporting the bill — Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose — as well as the County of Santa Cruz. Santa Clara County, Richmond and Berkeley are voting to endorse soon.
The grassroots movement to create publicly-owned banks to serve the public good continues to grow increasingly more powerful.
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