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Cash is King
Despite banning cash, they were unable to avoid COVID-19

Most legislation focuses on one issue or one area of law. Bills look at healthcare or transportation or water or housing and suggest changes to existing laws or implementation of new ones. However, some bills grab several areas that could be impacted by a single specific action such as discrimination and groups them together in one bill. SB 746 is one of those bills. While it is dealing with many topics around discrimination, it has brough back one specific topic from a bill heard during the 2020 session, HB 4107. The topic of accepting cash as legal currency for goods and services.

In 2020, HB 4107 was modified in committee and took on a broader scope which could have made it difficult to implement or possibly not legally enforceable. However, in a rare move, the bill was substituted on the floor of the House with the Minority Party Report and then moved over to the senate with some bipartisan support. There it was further fine-tuned and amended into HB 4107 B. Due to the walkout, the bill never finished its journey and died in the Senate Committee on Rules. Had SB 746 passed, businesses would have been forced to accept cash, with limited exceptions under the new law despite the declaration of an emergency.

However, during the pandemic some businesses choose to go to credit only payment and refused to accept cash. Dutch Brother Coffee was one of the most prominent businesses to do so. Shortly after the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, they made the decision to “temporarily suspended the use of cash due to COVID-19”, according to their web site. At the beginning of February 2021, almost a year into the pandemic, Dutch Brothers responded to an inquiry on their Face Book page as to why they were still not accepting cash. They shared “We’re so sorry for this inconvenience! At this point, we do need to maintain our touchless transactions for the safety of both our customers and our baristas. We’ll be accepting cash again as soon as it’s safe to do so”!

Despite Dutch Brothers banning cash, they were unable to avoid COVID-19 being contracted by their employees. Several locations over the last year have reported cases of COVID-19 among their workforces. Cash has never been determined by the Center for Disease Control or the Oregon Health Authority to be a source in the contraction of or spreading of COVID-19. Just over a year after the temporary suspension, Dutch Brothers is once again accepting cash. However, the Governor’s emergency Executive Order surrounding COVID-19 remains -- as does the existence of the disease.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Senators Floye Prozanski (D-Eugene) and James Manning (D-Eugene) have introduced SB 746. SECTION 1 of the bill, PROTECTION AGAINST PAYMENT DISCRIMINATION is identical to the SECTION 1 in HB 4107 from the 2020 session. It would require businesses to accept cash as legal payment. Perhaps this time the bill will get across the finish line and those citizens that only choose to or need to use cash, will no longer be left out of the ability to purchase goods and services.

SB 746 currently resides in the Senate Committee on Labor and Business and has a public hearing and a possible work session scheduled for April 1, 2021.


--Terese Humbolt

Post Date: 2021-03-25 19:26:12Last Update: 2021-03-25 19:43:32



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