SB 5188, a substitute bill to establish a state public financial cooperative (no longer referred to as a bank) moved out of the Senate Committee on Business, Financial Services & Trade on a purely partisan vote on February 9th. The bill moved to the Ways and Means Committee where it will have a hearing on February 18th at 1:30pm.
The purely partisan vote to move the substitute bill to Ways and Means follows: (D) Aye, (D) Aye, (D) Aye, (D) Aye, (R) No, S. Brown (R) No, and L. Wilson (R) No.
Certain elements of the text of the bill have been amended:
-The name of the institution created by the bill has been changed to Washington State Public Financial Cooperative.
-In Sec. 1 (3), the state has been removed from the definition of borrower.
-In Sec. 3 (2), it is no longer the Secretary of State but the Department of Financial Institutions that issues the Cooperative’s charter.
-A new Sec. 3 (13) states that the Cooperative is not a public depositary.
The effect of these changes on public banking in the long term are unclear. The Senate Bill Report on the first substitute bill contains explanations of the changes. The fact that Sen. Hasagawa, a long term supporter of public banking, has supported this substitute bill may indicate that its acceptance is a good first step in public banking for Washington.
There are 25 senators on the Ways and Means Committee, 10 Republicans and 15 Democrats. A party line vote would move the bill out of committee and to the full Senate, but crossover voting is not unheard of.