State Capitol News
8:56 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Bill Would Recognize Privately Minted Coins As Legal Tender

If you're concerned the federal government is going to make your dollar worthless, state lawmakers have you in mind. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.

The U.S. Constitution bars states from minting their own money. But, Senator Chester Crandell said states are required to accept gold and silver as payment of debts. So, his legislation would recognize privately minted coins as legal tender in Arizona, making them equivalent to the bills and coins authorized by Congress.

Miles Lester told the Senate Finance Committee this week the greenback is becoming worthless. Lester said, "we need to have a lifeboat so that we can construct Plan B. Mainstream financial analysts are sayint it's not a matter of if, it's just a matter of when."

Senator Steve Farley said the current financial system may not be perfect. But he said the country also has not been through the panics that pervaded the 19th century. "I don't see the need to go back to something that has proven to fail in the past", Farley said.

But Senator Bob Worsley said the level of debt puts the nation into uncharted territory. "For those that are concerned about it", Worsley said, "I think if they want the right to use gold and silver here as legal tender I'm OK with that."

This week's vote sends the measure to the full Senate.