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Legislator believes coin shortage isn’t real; wants law passed

Rep. Debbie Wood admits a few cents doesn’t impact her budget but, for those on a fixed income, every penny is important.
Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 8:00 PM CST
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Valley, Ala. (WTVY) -An Alabama lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would force merchants to return coins to customers.

Rep. Debbie Wood (R-Valley) said she pre-filed that measure after receiving complaints from disgruntled constituents.

“They were told (by the stores) did not have the (coins) and could not give (customers) change,” Wood said Wednesday. She believes, without her law, more stores will begin the practice.

Wood admits a few cents doesn’t impact her budget but, for those on a fixed income, every penny is important. Most affected, she believes, are senior citizens.

Wood is suspicious that merchants are falsely blaming what she terms a mostly fabricated coin shortage. Bankers have told her there are plenty of coins in their vaults, she said.

If Wood’s bill passes, if stores are unable to make coin change customers must be given credits for future use.

Wood, in her first House term, also proposes that merchants must accept cash payments. She fears, without that law, some will eventually only accept card transactions.

She said some in her district prefer to conduct their business with cash.

“We never, ever need to devalue money,” said Wood, who predicts her bill will be well received in the 2021 legislative session.

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