US senators write to banking regulators about potential crypto discrimination

Four United States Republican senators led by Bill Hagerty have written a letter to the heads of federal banking regulatory agencies, questioning the ideological motivation behind recent regulatory moves in regard to cryptocurrency. They compared the regulators’ policies to the Obama administration’s Operation Choke Point.

The senators addressed Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chair Marty Gruenberg and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu. The March 9 letter said that their agencies, along with the White House, have issued statements on heightened supervision that have resulted in unfortunate consequences for the cryptocurrency sector, such as the closing of crypto firms’ bank accounts.

The senators were referring to the joint statement released by those agencies on Jan. 3 that said in part, “Issuing or holding as principal crypto-assets […] is highly likely to be inconsistent with safe and sound banking practices.” In addition, they pointed to a February Fed policy statement that said, making specific reference to crypto, that “legal permissibility is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition” for banking activity, and the Biden administration’s January “road map” that called for agencies to “ramp up enforcement.”

“This coordinated behavior seems disturbingly reminiscent of Operation Choke Point,” the senators wrote. In that operation, “federal regulators applied pressure on financial institutions to cut off financial services to certain licensed, legally operating industries simply because certain regulators and policymakers disfavored those industries.” They added:

“We are especially worried that overreaching behavior by the banking regulators will inevitably bleed into other legal industries.”

The senators posed a number of questions to the regulators. They asked how their increased supervision will help consumers, whether it is possible for banks to provide services to crypto firms at all under the updated guidance,

Read the rest

Area law enforcement agencies have a chance to tap $5 million in state funds for body-worn cameras

Area law enforcement agencies are in line to access $5 million in a second round of state grant funding to invest in body-worn cameras.

Oregon District Shooting: How the 9 victims other will be remembered

The Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services is accepting applications for the second round of the Ohio Body-Worn Camera Grant Program, which assists local law enforcement agencies with costs related to camera equipment, video storage, public record management personnel and more .

“Law enforcement agencies are increasing using body-worn cameras to serve a multitude of functions, but for some agencies, the price tag is simply far too expensive,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a prepared statement released Thursday. “Our goal is to help as many local agencies as possible with the costs to improve current body-worn camera technology or launch new programs.”

DeWine created the program in 2021 after working with the Ohio General Assembly to secure funding in the operating budget. In January, he announced the first round of funding, awarding more than $4.7 million to 109 law enforcement agencies.

Monkeypox a national public health emergency, US declares

Seventeen area agencies that won grants in that first round of funding included sheriff’s offices in Auglaize, Logan, Mercer, Montgomery and Shelby counties, and police departments in Arcanum, Bellefontaine, Centerville, Eaton, Hamilton, Miamisburg, New Lebanon, Oxford, Oxford Twp ., Piqua, Riverside and West Milton.

The program is part of DeWine’s ongoing efforts to assist Ohio’s law enforcement agencies with technology needs. In response to a directive from DeWine, the Ohio State Highway Patrol began outfitting troopers with body-worn cameras in 2021.

Grant funds can be used to purchase the following:

• Body-worn cameras (dashboard cameras excluded), related hardware and software for officers who regularly interact with the public

Read the rest