Over the last several months, states including Virginia and South Carolina have considered bills to allow for or require the use of gold in state transactions. In 2009, Montana considered a similar idea (HB 639). This year, Montana has turned its attention back to gold use via HB 513 and in so doing carved special provisions for the state’s courts.
Section 7 provides “the state may not require but shall allow a person to recognize, receive, pay out, deliver, promise to pay, or otherwise use or employ gold and silver coin or electronic gold currency as media of exchange.” It extends this allowance to court judgments, decrees, and orders, however:
If the court, agency, or tribunal finds that a payment of gold and silver coin or electronic gold currency is not just compensation, the court, agency, or tribunal shall require:
(a) specific performance of the contract or other agreement then before the court, agency, or tribunal by other than the payment of money;
(b) specific restitution of property other than money;
(c) payment of some medium of exchange other than gold and silver coin, pursuant to a requirement for the payment in a contract or other agreement then before the court, agency, or tribunal; or
(d) other relief, similar to the relief described in subsection (5)(a) through (5)(c).
Thus, an individual generally has the option of using gold, silver, or “electronic gold” in addition to “legal tender of the United States”.
Even more interesting for purposes of the court’s internal workings is section 12, requiring damages, awards, payments, fines, penalties and other monetary forfeitures be determined and certified by the court “in both legal tender of the United States and electronic gold currency.”
The options are even more limited in criminal cases, contempt of court cases, cases involving violation of court rules, or any case in which the state is entitled to receive payment. There “the person against whom monetary damages or an award, payment, fine, penalty, or other monetary forfeiture is assessed shall pay the amount of the monetary damages, award, payment, fine, penalty, or other monetary forfeiture in electronic gold currency.” There appears to be no other option but for payment to the court for a contempt in the form of electronic gold.
A hearing on the bill set for February 16 before the House State Administration Committee was canceled. No word on when it is to be rescheduled.