According to the Washington Post, New York has become the first state to propose separate regulations for virtual currencies like Bitcoin. The New York Department of Financial Services announced yesterday in a press release that it has released it’s first draft of regulations. According to the press release, the proposed regulatory framework "is the product of a nearly year-long DFS inquiry, including public hearings that the Department held in January 2014 – contains consumer protection, anti-money laundering compliance, and cyber security rules tailored for virtual currency firms". The proposed rules will be published in the New York State Register’s July 23, 2014 edition at which point the 45-day public comment period will begin. After the comment period, the rules are subject to additional review and revision based on that public feedback before DFS finalizes them.

According to the Washington Post, the Federal Election Commission voted unanimously in May 2014 to allow political action committees (PAC's) to accept bitcoin donations or purchase them, but they must sell the bitcoins and convert them into U.S. dollars before they are deposited into an official campaign account. The commission did not approve the use of bitcoin to acquire goods and services. This is one of the first rulings by a government agency on how to treat the virtual currency.

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Not far from the North Dakota state Capitol in Bismarck stands a sleek, glass-covered building that, at first glance, belies its historic ties to the state’s progressive-era roots.
Despite its modern façade, however, the Bank of North Dakota — the nation’s only state-owned and state-operated bank — stands in part as a testament to the agrarian revolt that engulfed the young state and eventually ushered in a sweeping series of government reforms almost 100 years ago.

In recent years, states in the CSG-South area—as well as the nation as a whole—have been exposed to significant risks due to hurricanes and tornadoes. These immense storms have caused immeasurable damage in terms of the loss of human life and billions of dollars in economic costs.

According to the latest economic indicators, the US economy is holding steady but also hitting a soft patch as evidenced by lower consumer spending in the month of April.  This news in conjunction with the fact that inflation has halted to just 0.7 percent over the past year seems to indicate that the Fed will not start curtailing the buying of bonds as originally proposed by Chairman Bernanke.  The Fed is currently purchasing 85 billion dollars’ worth of bonds per month. 

As an increase in subsidized student loan interest rates from 3.4% to 6.8% is looming, the amount of student debt continues to increase.  

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Household Debt and Credit Report for the first quarter of 2013 shows that 16.2% of Americans have student debt, with variation among states.  ...

A new study related to climate change moves the debate from the science of it all to its impact on the economy.  The report— “Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey,” by Ceres, a nonprofit group advocating for sustainability leadership—takes a look at how not including the risks associated with climate change may affect the business of insurance companies. “The insurance sector is a key driver to our overall economy,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres.

Two years ago, Congress passed, and the president signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law. A response to the financial meltdown in 2008, Dodd-Frank initiated one of the most significant restructurings of financial regulations since the Great Depression, and a great deal of the reforms hinged on states’ relationships and regulatory authority over financial institutions. Now, with the law in effect and the federal rule-making process well under way, some states are using their new authorities in unpredicted—and unprecedented—ways.

A settlement between U.S. states and the nation’s largest mortgage lenders over foreclosure abuses is a go as every state but one—Oklahoma—has signed on to the deal. The settlement is described by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as the “largest joint federal-state civil settlement in the history of this nation."  The settlement is between 49 state attorneys general, the Justice Department, the U.S. Department of Housing and five major banks. The exact value of the settlement is unclear, but could range from $26 billion to upwards of $39 billion. 

The Southern Legislative Conference has released its latest Regional Resource - Municipal Bonds: Trends in 2011. The Resource examines how the municipal bond market fared in 2011, if fears expressed by certain experts regarding widespread bond defaults were realized, if investors shed their holdings in municipal bonds and fled to other asset categories and a number of related topics.

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