SB1301: State-Owned Bank Task Force Bill Passes Committee

Arizona's debt to Wall Street

Arizona’s total debt service rose 94% between 2007-2014. Why is the state paying $312 million per year in interest on Wall Street debt when we could self-fund projects with public banking?

For the second year in a row, Southern Arizona Senator Andrea Dalessandro’s task force bill to study creation of a state-owned passed the Arizona Senate’s Financial Institutions Committee. This year’s bipartisan vote was 6-1 with only Senator Gail Griffin, also from Southern Arizona, voting no.

In the highly polarized Legislature where many bills sponsored by Democrats aren’t even assigned to committee, this is a major step forward. In order to help prevent this bill from dying on the Senate floor, as last year’s bill did, public banking supporters must be engaged and vigilant. There are two online services where bills can be tracked and commented on: Request to Speak and Arizona Voices.

Request to Speak (RTS) is a system maintained by the state. This system is a direct link between the Legislature and the people; Legislators can see your comments and your votes on individual bills. RTS has two sections, the RTS segment (which allows you to “request to speak” electronically or in person and allows you to vote on bills) and the Bill Inquiry segment (which allows you to make watch lists of bills.) To use RTS, you must create an account. On the day that SB1301 was to be heard in committee, I logged on to the RTS system, made a comment about SB1301, and gave it a thumbs up vote. There were six thumbs up votes and only one thumbs down (from the Arizona Bankers Association).

Arizona Voices is a private non-profit which allows citizens to comment on bills and submit ideas “for a better Arizona”. Unlike RTS which has specific times during the legislative process when people can comment, Arizona Voices is a running conversation.

Please create accounts and let your voices be heard on SB1301 and a myriad of other bills winding their way through the Legislature.

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