After a decade long effort on the part of State Senator Bob Hasegawa, a bill for a Washington State public bank (cooperative) has been passed by the Senate and moved to the House for consideration. Along the way the term “bank” was replaced by “cooperative” to conform to existing state and federal laws. The essence of this bill remains the same.
E2SSB 5188 (Engrossed* second substitute bill), to establish a Washington State Public Financial Cooperative, was passed by the Washington State Senate on March 5th with a 27 to 21 (one excused) vote. It now has been referred to the House for a first reading in the Consumer Protection & Business Committee today, March 7th. [Not Officially read and referred until adoption of Introduction report].
From the Senate Bill Report on E2SSB 5188:
“This [bill] will provide an additional option for governments to finance needed improvements. Banks are accountable to their shareholders. This bank would be accountable to the taxpayers. A public cooperative bank can partner with other state programs to fill the gaps. The state would share in profits that would be returned to the community. Members pay themselves back, and the profits work for the people. This bill would provide more options to help connect last mile projects like connecting broadband networks to small communities."
Since the 98 member House is controlled by Democrats 57 to 41, the chances of the bill passing are promising, however, as in all things political, prediction is a path filled with legislative potholes.
* “A legislative proposal that has been prepared in a final form for its submission to a vote of the lawmaking body after it has undergone discussion and been approved by the appropriate committees.” (Free Dictionary)