Utah House Passes Bill Recognizing Gold, Silver as Legal Tender

Utah took its first step Friday toward bringing back the gold standard when the state House passed a bill that would recognize gold and silver coins issued by the federal government as legal currency.

The House voted 47-26 in favor of the legislation that would also exempt the sale of gold from the state capital gains tax and calls for a committee to study alternative currencies for the state.

The legislation now heads to the state Senate, where a vote is expected next week.

Under the bill, the coins would not replace the current paper currency but would be used and accepted voluntarily as an alternative.

If the bill passes, Utah would become the first of 13 states that have proposed similar measures. The others states are Colorado, Georgia, Montana, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington.

Backers of Utah's bill say they want to send a message to the rest of the country.

"People sense that in the era of quantitative easing and zero interest rates, something has gone haywire with our monetary policy," said Jeffrey Bell, policy director for the Washington-based American Principles in Action, which helped shape the bill.

"If one state recognizes gold as a valid currency, I think it would embolden people not just in other states but in Washington," he said.

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