Virginia delegate Robert Marshall, R-Prince William, is pushing a bill in the commonwealth's general assembly that would commission a study into whether the state should have an alternative currency "in the event of a major breakdown of the Federal Reserve System."
According to the Washington Post, a Virginia house subcommittee advanced Marshall’s measure Thursday. Marshall floated a similar bill in 2011, but that version did not get approval from a subcommittee.
At the time, the Washington Post reported that Marshall's intention was to "inject competition into the national economy and force the federal government to change monetary policy he believes is leading to hyperinflation."
"Hyperinflation" became a buzzword among opponents of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Critics feared Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's efforts to inject money into the economy would trigger a devaluation of currency on the order of that experienced in post-World War II Europe, or in the former Soviet Union after its collapse.
Although Bernanke dismissed such fears, criticism of the Fed's monetary policy has persisted. In May 2011, Utah became the first state in the country to legalize gold and silver coins as currency. The bill's sponsor, Republican state Rep. Brad Galvez, called the law a move toward an alternative currency.
According to CNN, at least 13 states considered accepting gold and silver as currency last year.
The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to coin money, so the coins would have still have to be issued by the federal government.
Marshall's current bill is already facing criticism from Democratic leadership in the general assembly for being too expensive, although Marshall's bill states that the "direct costs of [the] study shall not exceed $22,560," without additional authorization.
Another bill proposed by Marshall in the 2013 general assembly "protects Virginia employers from having to provide coverage for birth control, early abortion pills and sterilization operations if against their conscience," according to his website.
Following Congress' repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in December 2010, Marshall drafted a bill that would have barred gays and lesbians from openly serving in the Virginia National Guard. He later defended his bill by claiming that service members would be at risk of catching sexually transmitted diseases from gay troops.
"If I needed a blood transfusion and the guy that's going to give me the transfusion has committed sodomy 14 times in the last month, yeah, I'm going to be worried," Marshall told WUSA at the time.