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10 Apr, 2013 19:41

Arizona lawmakers approve gold and silver as legal tender

Arizona lawmakers approve gold and silver as legal tender

And now for some heavy metal news: the Arizona state legislature has officially approved a measure to make gold and silver legal tender.

As RT reported earlier, an effort in the State House and Senate to have precious metals once again considered legitimate currency has garnered an immense amount of support in recent months, particularly in the wake of ongoing round of quantitative easing conducted by the US Federal Reserve, the country’s central bank. On Monday, the Arizona House of Representatives signed-off on a Senate bill that now only requires the governor’s signature to become official [PDF].

Once Gov. Jan Brewer authorizes the bill, retailers in Arizona that are willing to accept gold and silver in lieu of paper money are allowed to let customers purchase goods with precious bullion.

"This gives them the ability to use it as tender and have the same recognition as the paper dollar coming out of the Federal Reserve," Republican State Sen. Chester Crandell tells the Associated Press.

Sen. Crandell is a sponsor of the bill, SB 1439, and helped craft the act to mimic a similar law that was passed in the state of Utah in 2011. Speaking to the AP from Arizona, Scottsdale Bullion & Coin broker Mike Rowlands suggests other states should follow suit before the buying value of the dollar diminishes even further.

"We know in the situation where we're at they continue to pump money in and pump money in, which eventually that game is going to end," Rowlands tells the AP.

Days before the Arizona House approved Sen. Crandell’s bill with a 36-22 vote, University of Central Oklahoma Professor Loren Gatch told Bloomberg News that more states are likely to adopt similar bills if the Federal Reserve continues its current policies under Chairman Ben Bernanke.

“The legislation is about signaling discontent with monetary policy and about what Ben Bernanke is doing,” Gatch said. “There is a fear that the government, or Bernanke in particular and the Federal Reserve, is pursuing a policy that will lead to the collapse of the dollar. That’s what is behind it.”

Lawmakers in Arizona might not have words as harsh as Gatch, but nonetheless seem to agree: since the United States abandoned the gold standard in 1971, inflation has been rampant as prices soar and the dollar’s value declines.

For some, though, going back to how things were before the ‘70s seems to just make sense. “This is the type of currency we have had over the history of mankind,” adds Republican State Rep. Steve Smith.

If Gov. Brewer signs off on the bill, Arizona residents will be allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender starting in 2014 — only, of course, in places willing to accept them. After the Arizona Senate first passed the bill in February, the House tacked on an amendment that exempts the state’s Department of Revenue from being covered under the measures — essentially negating a rule that would have mandated businesses accept precious metals.

“They wanted to make sure they wouldn’t be required to take gold and silver,” Republican State Rep. David Livingston says of the department. “They just didn’t want to have to deal with it right now.”