Authority To Conduct Research and Development on All Circulating Coins
Congress recently enacted the Coin Modernization, Oversight, and Continuity Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-302) to provide the Secretary of the Treasury research and development authority for alternative metallic coinage materials. Specifically, the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to(1) conduct any appropriate testing of appropriate metallic coinage materials within or outside of the Department of the Treasury; and (2) solicit input from or otherwise work in conjunction with Federal and nonfederal entities, including independent research facilities or current or potential suppliers of the metallic material used in volume production of circulating coins. In accordance with Public Law 111-302, Section 2(b), in conducting research or soliciting input, the Secretary of the Treasury shall consider the following: (A) Factors relevant to the potential impact of any revisions to the composition of the material used in coin production on the current coinage material suppliers; (B) factors relevant to the ease of use and ability to co-circulate of new coinage materials, including the effect on vending machines and commercial coin processing equipment and making certain, to the greatest extent practicable, that any new coins work without interruption in existing coin acceptance equipment without modification; and (C) such other factors that the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with merchants who would be affected by any change in the composition of circulating coins, vending machine and other coin acceptor manufacturers, vending machine owners and operators, transit officials, municipal parking officials, depository institutions, coin and currency handlers, armored-car operators, car wash operators, and American-owned manufacturers of commercial coin processing equipment, considers to be appropriate and in the public interest. Additionally, the Secretary of the Treasury is required to report biennially to the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on the production costs for each circulating coin, cost trends for such production, and possible new metallic materials or technologies for the production of circulating coins. The Secretary of the Treasury has delegated to the Director of the United States Mint the authority to conduct research and development for alternative metallic coinage materials, to consider the factors specified in Public Law 111-302, Section 2(b), and to prepare a biennial report to the Congress on the current status of coin production costs and analysis of alternative metallic coinage materials. Accordingly, the United States Mint requests public comment on the factors specified in Public Law 111-302, Section 2(b).