State Denies Columbia Falls Lawmaker’s Request for Pay in Gold

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – A Montana legislator who wants to be paid in silver and gold will have to be satisfied with bills that fold.

Republican Rep. Jerry O’Neil of Columbia Falls this week asked the Montana Legislative Services Division to pay him in gold and silver coins because he is spooked about the nation’s fiscal outlook and the dollar’s future.

A legislative attorney responded to the request Wednesday by saying that neither the U.S. Constitution nor Montana state law requires an agency to pay its debts with gold or silver.

Attorney Jaret Coles wrote in his letter to Legislative Services Executive Director Susan Fox that he is unable to conclude the state is allowed to pay legislators in precious metals.

However, Coles writes, a legislator can introduce a bill to require such payments.

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