Legislative Alert - Friday, February 24th, 2017: Will Banks be Able to Deal in Pot? [Video + Transcript]
- Will the President Change Banking Rules for Marijuana?
- New Ridesharing Law in New Jersey
- A Big Labor Change in the Works in Missouri
Will the President Change Banking Rules for Marijuana?
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs has asked President Trump to make a dramatic change in banking laws that would benefit marijuana providers across the country. Since the drug is still illegal on the federal level, banks and credit unions are forbidden from taking marijuana money. So even though it’s being produced, bought and sold legally in some form or another in more than half of the country, those in the industry still must operate strictly in cash. The Treasury and Justice departments have been turning a blind eye since being directed to do so by former President Obama. Now, a letter has been sent asking the new administration for guidance on the issue and some assurances that “responsible financial institutions” will not get into trouble for doing business with legal cannabis.
New Ridesharing Law in New Jersey
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the Transportation Network Company Safety and Regulatory Act into law. The Act requires ride-sharing services to conduct background checks on all of their drivers. Unlike other attempts at legislation across the country, this law does not require a fingerprint-based background check. It allows the companies to use a third party – a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) -- to conduct the checks, but it does leave an opening for the State Police to demand a fingerprint check if they feel the CRA’s work is insufficient. The law also requires Uber and Lyft to maintain $1.5 million in commercial auto insurance and eliminates a 7% sales tax that had been levied on limousine owners, but not the ride-shares.
A Big Labor Change in the Works in Missouri
The Missouri state legislature passed a law that would turn it into a right-to-work state. The law, which makes it illegal to force employees to join unions, is scheduled to take effect on August 28th. Missouri’s branches of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) are hoping to let the voters decide instead of leaving the decision up to the state government. They have filed a referendum petition with the Secretary of State’s office to get this issue on the 2018 ballot. In order to do so, they must get signatures from 5% of voters in two-thirds of the state’s congressional districts. If the law goes into effect, it will not apply to federal employees or anyone covered by the federal Railway Labor Act. Nor would it change any collective bargaining agreements that were finalized before the law’s effective date.