Big News On the West Coast


Washington State Public Bank Workshop

Washington and Seattle Big Step Forward! Washington State Sen. Bob Hasegawa has been working diligently on a state-owned bank ever since 2011. Last month, the legislature finally authorized $75,000 for a study to determine the feasibility of such a bank. On July 14th, he and Sen. Lisa Wellman held an all-day workshop  at which public banking veterans Walt McRee, Ellen Brown, and Karl Beitel were invited to advise. Attendees included six senators, four representatives from the state treasurer’s office, one from the comptroller’s office, and two local bankers.

At the city level, Sen. Hasegawa also intends to create a city public bank for Seattle if he wins his race for mayor this fall! Here is an informative White Paper on the proposal, which dovetails with the city’s divestiture from Wells Fargo. Where to put the money? The city’s own bank, of course!

Pictured above: Washington State Bank Workshop:  Senator Hasegawa (host), Representative Ornsby, Senators Chase, Wellman, Kuderer, Presenters: Walt McRee, Former PBI Chair, Ellen Brown, Chair PBI ,   Dr. Karl Beitel, Senator Soldana  

California_State_Treasurer_John_Chiang.jpgCalifornia Not Far Behind!

August 10 from 9:30 to 1:30 at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel on Century Blvd. in Los Angeles, Treasurer John Chiang hosted a public hearing featuring public banking veterans Marc Armstrong, Matt Stannard and Gwen Hallsmith among others.

The Treasurer has formed a Cannabis Banking Working Group to determine what to do with the cannabis cash that will be rolling into “pot shops” in January, after Prop. 64 legalized the herb for popular use.

It is expected to be a $7 billion business generating a potential $1 billion in tax revenues; but it is a business with nowhere to bank, due to the federal ban on the herb. [read more]

Photo courtesy

Los Angeles City Council Brings a Public Bank Motion Forward

The LA City Council is on the move as well, also mobilized by the need to find a bank for the coming onslaught of cannabis cash. On July 26th, the City Council actually brought a motion to create a state-chartered public bank for the city! Besides solving the cannabis problem, Council President Herb Wesson said that a municipal bank could provide financing to small businesses and developers of affordable housing, among other public uses. [read more]


Ellen Brown – Saving Illinois, Getting More Bank for the State Bucks

Illinois is bankrupt, unable to pay its bills. The state has $15 billion in unpaid bills and $251 billion in unfunded liabilities, $119 billion of which are tied to shortfalls in the state’s pension program. On July 6, 2017, for the first time in two years, the state finally… [read more]


Vermont Activists Use Cookies To Explain Where The Dough Goes

Baking (Banking) for a Better Vermont is how some Vermonters are learning about public banking. Public Bank supporters sponsor local baking contests, and then use cookies to show what happens with the public’s dough if Vermont used a public bank versus a private bank.


Henry Jacqz represented a working Vermonter who becomes a State Public Banker and hands out the dough for Vermont projects. Gwen Hallsmith plays the Vermont State Legislature (note the gold dome on her head) and KC Martel the Wall Street Banker who keeps all the public’s dough for himself.

Representative Brian Cina (Sponsor of this year’s Vermont State Bank legislation) and Gwen Hallsmith answer audience questions while all munch on cookies. Learn more about how Vermonters are promoting Public Banking here!


Public Banking and July 4th Parade in Maine

Maine Public Bank Coalition members, Eileen, Lisa, Randall, Fred and Patty, marched in the July 4th Thomaston, Maine parade carrying signs to increase awareness of the benefits of a Maine Public Bank: provide a social conscience to banking of public funds, improve the economy, and reduce inequality of wealth and income. The back of their t shirts said “Banking with a Social Conscience”. Learn more about the Maine Coalition here!


Public Banking Institute Seeks a Media Consultant

The Public Banking Institute seeks an experienced, part-time media consultant to coordinate our web development (Nation Builder), social media, and appeals. Background in Public Banking a plus!

Please submit letters of interest, experience, qualifications and requested compensation by August 17th to [email protected](read more)