Jason Powell, a Tennessee House of Representatives member, has introduced legislation that would allow counties, municipalities and the state to invest cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (or NFTs) in cryptocurrencies.
Tennessee House Bill 2644 was introduced Feb. 2. Powell proposed to amend the state code to include crypto, blockchain and NFTs as authorized investments for counties, states, and municipalities that use idle funds. The bill was assigned by lawmakers to the House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee, which was established on February 8. It will be further considered by the House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee.
This was Powell’s second legislation related to cryptocurrency and blockchain. He also asked Tennessee legislators to consider creating a study committee to make the state “the most forward-thinking and pro-business state” for crypto and blockchain. Tennessee House Bill 2643 would, if passed by the legislature, appoint Carter Lawrence, the current Tennessee commissioner of commerce, as the chair of the committee. The committee would include a representative with “experience and knowledge in cryptocurrency” as well as another who is familiar with federal securities laws.
The proposed study committee would have the following duties: review crypto and blockchain data across the United States; determine the status laws applicable to crypto space; study NFT use cases, regulations, and open a dialogue to industry experts; and make recommendations for legislation to promote Tennessee’s position as a crypto and blockchain hub. If approved by lawmakers, the first report of the group would be due Dec. 31, 2022. The law is expected to go into effect July 1, 2022.
Powell appeared to be hedging his wagers on the aforementioned legislation. However, he also proposed a bill that would direct the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) to conduct a similar study on blockchain and crypto laws across U.S states. This was due roughly at the same time. He introduced a bill in 2018 that would have allowed smart contracts to be used in the state.
The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution means that lawmakers at both the state and federal levels often meet to decide which body governs trade and business. Many industry experts describe the result as a patchwork law that crypto firms must navigate in order to legally operate in the United States.
Related: A US lawmaker calls for state-level regulation of stablecoins during an hearing on digital assets
Many state and local officials joined the crypto-friendly movement in 2021. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggested that the state government allow businesses the ability to pay fees using cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC). Andy Beshear signed a bill in March that reduced the sales tax burden for crypto miners operating within Kentucky.
Cointelegraph reached Jason Powell but did not get a reply at the time of publication.