State Public Banking (Cooperative) Bill Moves To The House

After clearing the Senate, Washington’s bill to create a public banking cooperative advances to the Democratically controlled House.

After clearing the Senate, Washington’s bill to create a public banking cooperative advances to the Democratically controlled House.

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)

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About Dick Conoboy

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Member since Jan 26, 2008

Dick Conoboy is a recovering civilian federal worker and military officer who was offered and accepted an all-expense paid, one year trip to Vietnam in 1968. He is a former Army [...]

Comments by Readers

Jon Humphrey

Mar 08, 2021

Thanks for this article. I see major advantages in relation to public banking and funding local infrastructure projects among many other things.


Gene Knutson

Mar 11, 2021

Thanks Dick for all your work on this, hope it makes it to the Governors desk.


Christopher S Hudson

Mar 11, 2021

Our “cooperative” bank could easily issue all types of infastructure municipal bonds of varying sizes and maturities at rates and terms unavailable from Chase and the other giants. With the huge surge in apartments being built here, I’m sure the treatment plant will need to expand to handle the wastewater…. local bonds w/decent interest rate and tax exempt would be the way to do it…. just one small example of greater local control and financial benefit.


Dick Conoboy

Mar 11, 2021

 To all Readers,

E2SSB5188 - Mar 17  Scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Consumer Protection & Business at 8:00 AM (Subject to change). (Committee Materials)

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