The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s State Cooperative Statute Library—a comprehensive, state-by-state review of co-op law—addresses the challenge of inconsistent legal framework for cooperative development in the U.S. Currently, co-op statutes differ greatly from state to state. Nationwide, both incorporation legislation and enabling legislation are needed to create a legal environment conducive to cooperative growth.
This growing database, curated by USDA’s Rural Business Cooperative Service and hosted by NCBA CLUSA, is a critical step forward to identifying core pieces of good co-op law that can be adopted by other states, resulting in clearer and more consistent statutes nationwide.
It gives cooperative professionals access to comprehensive descriptions of general purpose, worker and agricultural cooperatives in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and tribal law.
The library is a useful reference for individuals who want to quickly access specific provisions in different states’ cooperative laws and also have the ability to compare the provisions with similar provisions in other jurisdictions. Formatted as an Excel spreadsheet, the library provides a provision-by-provision description of state laws, with different spreadsheet pages on subjects such as cooperative purpose, powers, formation, articles of incorporation, bylaws, membership, control, directors, officers, patronage, finance, merger, consolidation and dissolution.
The library also includes answers to questions on how cooperatives are treated under specific states’ securities, antitrust, escheat and unclaimed property laws. Further, states’ cooperative tax regimes are described, including state law provisions regarding cooperative income tax, franchise taxes, sales taxes, the domestic production credit, and other taxes and exemptions.