Public Banking Bill Heads to Senate in Historic Victory for Economic Justice

Public Banking Bill Heads to Senate in Historic Victory for Economic Justice

California Public Banking Alliance Press Release, August 30, 2019. AB 857 advances to full Senate vote after week of big-name endorsements. 

SACRAMENTO – Today the Public Banking Act (D-Chiu, D-Santiago) passed through its sixth and final committee, the California State Senate Appropriations Committee, in a historic victory for the public banking movement. The bill, AB 857, now heads to a full vote on the Senate floor.

“The momentum for public banking in California is growing by the day,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). “The public’s money should serve a public purpose instead of lining the pockets of Wall Street investors. This bill brings us closer to that goal.”

The vote positions California to be the first state in the nation to enable city and regional-level public banks as an alternative to predatory Wall Street megabanks. AB 857 empowers local governments to charter democratically-accountable banks rather than depositing taxpayer funds with Wall Street. The only existing public bank in the United States is the Bank of North Dakota, which serves a state population roughly the size of San Francisco.

“Today marks another landmark win for California’s fight to mobilize public revenues to serve public interest,” said Trinity Tran, co-founder of Public Bank LA, a founding member of the California Public Banking Alliance. “We thank Senator Portantino and the Committee for standing with millions across the state representing organized labor, local government, environmental, and community groups in support of AB 857. The Public Banking Act is a crucial step towards maximizing the impact of profits in our local communities instead of maximizing profit for out-of-state big banks.”

The final committee vote comes after a week of endorsements from presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, labor unions, city governments, environmental groups, and Democratic central committees. AB 857 has been endorsed by the California Democratic Party as well as county parties representing Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma.

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