Arizona’s Republican-controlled Senate gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a bill that would make gold and silver legal tender in the state.
According to Capitol Media Services, Republicans who pushed the measure through said they feared the value of the dollar could tank, making the law necessary. While the U.S. Constitution bans states printing their own currency, supporters argued it does not prohibit private organizations from minting gold and silver coins.
If approved by the state House and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R), it would give privately minted gold and silver the same legal status to pay bills as federal currency, according to Capitol Media Services. It could also force merchants to keep scales on hand in order to determine value of gold and silver — a point that was mocked by Democratic state Sen. Steve Farley, who opposed the bill. Farley proposed a list of items that could also serve as legal tender in the state, such as cattle, cotton and citrus.
In 2011, Utah became the first state to approve gold and silver coins as legal currency. States such as Montana, Missouri, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Washington have considered similar measures in recent years.
Correction: This post has been updated to show the Senate only gave preliminary approval to the bill on Wednesday. The Senate finally passed the bill on Thursday.