Text: H.R.2650 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (05/09/2019)

[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 2650 Introduced in House (IH)]


  1st Session
                                H. R. 2650

  To prohibit retail businesses from refusing cash payments, and for 
                            other purposes.



                              May 9, 2019

  Mr. Payne introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                    Committee on Financial Services


                                 A BILL

  To prohibit retail businesses from refusing cash payments, and for 
                            other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Payment Choice Act of 2019''.


    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Section 5103 of title 31, United States Code, provides 
        that United States coins and currency ``are legal tender for 
        all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues''.
            (2) A growing number of retail establishments, across the 
        nation, have adopted ``cashless policies'', declaring that they 
        refuse to accept United States cash payment from their 
        customers and, instead, require that payment for the goods and 
        services offered by such retailers be made only with credit 
        cards, debit cards, or digital payment methods that result in 
        electronic transfers of funds to the retailer.


    (a) In General.--Subchapter I of chapter 51 of title 31, United 
States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
``Sec. 5104. Retail businesses prohibited from refusing cash payments
    ``(a) In General.--No person selling or offering goods or services 
at retail to the public may--
            ``(1) refuse to accept United States legal tender of cash 
        as payment for goods or services;
            ``(2) post signs or notices in, on, or about the business 
        premises of such person stating that cash payment is not 
        accepted; or
            ``(3) charge a higher price to any customer who pays by 
        cash than customarily is charged to a customer using other 
        forms of payment.
    ``(b) Exception.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to any goods or 
services sold to the public by telephone, mail, or internet.
    ``(c) Enforcement.--
            ``(1) Preventative relief.--Whenever any person has 
        engaged, or there are reasonable grounds to believe that any 
        person is about to engage in any act or practice prohibited by 
        this section, a civil action for preventive relief, including 
        an application for a permanent or temporary injunction, 
        restraining order, or other order may be brought against such 
            ``(2) Civil penalties.--Any person who violates this 
        section shall--
                    ``(A) be liable for actual damages;
                    ``(B) be fined not more than $2,500 for a first 
                offense; and
                    ``(C) be fined not more than $5,000 for a second or 
                subsequent offense.
            ``(3) Jurisdiction.--An action under this section may be 
        brought in any United States district court, or in any other 
        court of competent jurisdiction.
            ``(4) Intervention of attorney general.--Upon timely 
        application, a court may, in its discretion, permit the 
        Attorney General to intervene in a civil action brought under 
        this subsection, if the Attorney General certifies that the 
        action is of general public importance.
            ``(5) Authority to appoint court-paid attorney.--Upon 
        application by an individual and in such circumstances as the 
        court may determine just, the court may appoint an attorney for 
        such individual and may authorize the commencement of a civil 
        action under this subsection without the payment of fees, 
        costs, or security.
            ``(6) Attorney's fees.--In any action commenced pursuant to 
        this section, the court, in its discretion, may allow the 
        prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable 
        attorney's fee as part of the costs, and the United States 
        shall be liable for costs the same as a private person.
            ``(7) Requirements in certain states and local areas.--In 
        the case of an alleged act or practice prohibited by this 
        section which occurs in a State, or political subdivision of a 
        State, which has a State or local law prohibiting such act or 
        practice and establishing or authorizing a State or local 
        authority to grant or seek relief from such act or practice or 
        to institute criminal proceedings with respect thereto upon 
        receiving notice thereof, no civil action may be brought 
        hereunder before the expiration of 30 days after written notice 
        of such alleged act or practice has been given to the 
        appropriate State or local authority by registered mail or in 
        person, provided that the court may stay proceedings in such 
        civil action pending the termination of State or local 
        enforcement proceedings.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents for chapter 51 of 
title 31, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item 
relating to section 5103 the following:

``5104. Retail businesses prohibited from refusing cash payments.''.

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