EUGENE, Ore -- A proposed law making its way in the statehouse would require most businesses in Oregon to accept cash.
Rep. Marty Wilde of Linn and Lane counties said House Bill 4107 aims to stop what he calls "backdoor discrimination." He says people of color are five times less likely to use banks and he believes they should be able to spend their cash wherever they choose.
"Imagine if you walk up to a store and you see a sign that says you must make this much money to come in or it said no black people or no Hispanic people or no Asian people allowed -- we certainly wouldn't tolerate that -- and this is sort of just a backdoor form of discrimination when you don't take cash," Wilde said.
Anthony Smith, the state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, a group that lobbies for small businesses, said he has concerns. He said a blanket policy is short-sighted and he is worried about safety, security, efficiency and customer experience.
"There are very legitimate reasons why a business may go cashless," Smith said.
Farrukh Raza owns Direct Kick Soccer Shop in Eugene. He accepts cash and said he supports the bill. He said many of his customers are from South America and don't use a bank.
"They come from a culture where they don't have a credit history or credit cards," Raza said. "They make money, they have cash, and they go out and buy stuff."
Not all businesses would be impacted if the law passes and goes into effect on July 1, 2021. Food carts, rental deposits, and sales made over the phone or internet would be excluded as well as most government agencies.
The bill is currently in committee.