Panel carries over requiring retailers to accept cash and give credit/gift card when they can’t give change

The House Commerce and Small Business Committee carried over legislation requiring retail businesses to accept cash when offered by a consumer. HB28 by Rep. Debbie Wood, R-Valley, would allow retailers to refuse to accept any denomination larger than a $20 bill. Another provision would require retailers experiencing a cash or coin shortage to provide a store credit or gift card to a customer if the retailer was unable to give them exact change.

During a Wednesday morning public hearing, the Alabama Retail Association, the Alabama Grocers Association, the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association, the Alabama chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business and the Petroleum & Convenience Marketers of Alabama, all testified against the bill.

Personally, I don’t know of any retailer who doesn’t accept cash,” Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said. Brown and others pointed out that for a brief period in the summer, the nation experienced a coin circulation issue related to the coronavirus. Consumers stayed home and were not spending their loose change, plus drive-thru-only banking meant businesses couldn’t buy coins from the banks as they regularly do. As COVID restrictions eased and virus cases declined, coins began to circulate more freely.

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