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No on SB 5899: Payday loans don't solve crisis, they create one …

EDITORIAL


(March 13, 2015) – Remember two years ago, when the Republican-controlled Washington State Senate brought our state to the brink of a government shutdown?

The Senate had a list of ideological policy bills upon which they demanded House action before they would agree to an operating budget. After two overtime sessions, cooler heads finally prevailed and Gov. Jay Inslee signed a deal just hours before the budget cycle ended on July 1, prompting The (Everett) Herald to editorialize, “Ideology and partisanship, especially in the Senate, supplanted pragmatism.”

Good times… good times.

One of those 2013 ideological policy bills is back in 2015, and the more solidly Republican-controlled Senate just sent it to the House. It’s SB 5899, which would relax consumer protections against short-term high-interest payday loans that push low-income working families deeper and deeper into debt. The bill would replace the state’s limited payday loans with “installment loans” that would allow up to a year’s worth of interest and fees.

Washington’s current law limits payday loans to $700 per loan and no more than eight loans per year. Borrowers are charged a $95 fee and typically must pay it off in two weeks. Under SB 5899, a $700 loan would cost borrowers up to a total of $1,195 in principal, interest and fees if paid off in six months, and up to a total of $1,579 if it took a full year.

Organized labor and other advocates for low-income working families have joined anti-poverty and consumer groups in opposing SB 5899. Why? Because payday loans don’t solve a financial crisis, they create one. Borrowers often must take a second loan to pay off the first, and so on, leading to a spiral of debt that sucks them dry.

It also harms the economy.

A 2013 study by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development found that the national burden of repaying payday loans in 2011 led to $774 million in lost consumer spending, the loss of more than 14,000 jobs, and an increase in Chapter 13 bankruptcies. The study found that each dollar of interest paid to payday lenders subtracted $1.94 from the economy due to reduced household spending, while only adding $1.70 to payday lending establishments. It’s an anti-multiplier effect. For every dollar of interest paid in payday loan interest, the economy lost a quarter.

Remember last fall’s election, when voters were demanding greater access to short-term high-interest loans? Neither do we.

The 2015 legislative session was supposed to focus on last fall’s big campaign issues: funding basic education and transportation, addressing income inequality, and making sure our tax dollars (and tax incentives) are efficiently spent. How did promoting payday lending get in there again?

It began last fall, all right. But it didn’t come from the public, it came from Seattle-based payday lender MoneyTree.

Jim Brunner of The Seattle Times wrote an explosive story last week outing Moneytree as leading the full-court lobbying press to relax payday lending laws. He reports that the effort began last fall when the company and its executives, who traditionally direct their political contributions to Republicans, “sought to strengthen ties with Democrats, boosting donations to Democratic legislator campaigns in last fall’s elections, and quietly employing a well-connected Seattle public-affairs firm that includes the political fundraiser for Gov. Jay Inslee and other top Democrats.”

On Tuesday, a heroic effort was made by most of the Senate’s Democratic minority caucus to stop SB 5899 or amend it to lower the interest and fees payday lenders can charge. But those efforts were thwarted, and after a passionate debate that lasted more than two hours, the bill passed the Senate, 30-18, with Democratic Sens. Brian Hatfield, Steve Hobbs, Karen Keiser, Marko Liias, and Kevin Ranker joining all Republicans (except Sen. Kirk Pearson) in voting “yes.”

Now it heads over to the House, where its companion bill died without a floor vote after Wednesday’s cutoff deadline. The question is, given Moneytree’s… outreach… to Democrats, will it again die in their House? Will it again become embroiled in end-game budget negotiations to try to force its passage?

We hope not.

We agree with state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who sent a letter to legislators opposing the bill, saying our state’s payday-lending system includes important safeguards for consumers “and does not need to be overhauled.”

We also agree with The (Tacoma) News Tribune, which wrote that payday lenders’ efforts to pass SB 5899 “have nothing to do with helping poor people and everything to do with their bottom line. Lawmakers should see this legislation for what it is and reject it. If it passes, Gov. Jay Inslee should veto it.”


The Stand is the news service of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

[…]

Apple just took out a $6.5 billion loan even though it's sitting on $178 billion in cash

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View photo. China Daily/Reuters Apple sold $6.5 billion in bonds on Monday, according to Bloomberg.

That’s the same Apple that last week announced an record-breaking $18 billion profit over the holiday quarter.

It’s reasonable to ask: why would Apple — a company with $178 billion in cash — need a loan?

In short: taxes.

The vast majority of Apple’s cash hoard is held offshore.

Apple can defer taxes on that cash until it decides to bring it back to the U.S.

Apple doesn’t want to bring the money home, though. It could pay up to 35% of whatever it brings back to Uncle Sam, which could easily be a multi-billion dollar tax bill.

Apple wants a tax repatriation holiday, like the one recently proposed by Senators Barbara Boxer and Rand Paul.

The Boxer-Paul would tax cash Apple brought home at 6.5%, much lower than the rate it would otherwise pay.

But the prospects for the Boxer-Paul plan aren’t looking good. Senator Orrin Hatch, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has already expressed skepticism about it. And this bill hasn’t even been introduced yet.

Meanwhile, Apple still needs cash in the US. The $6.5 billion it raised will go towards stock repurchases, dividend payments, and debt repayments, according to Bloomberg.

With corporate taxes so high, and interest rates so low, it’s much cheaper for Apple to raise debt and pay it back with interest than to repatriate cash.

Unless we see corporate tax reform, Apple will probably keep raising money this way for the foreseeable future.

More From Business Insider

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Finance […]

Payday loan policy and the art of legislative compromise | The …

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DENVER — De Jimenez is a single mother of three. She works in medical records and one of her children is in college. She recently took out a payday loan and she’s kicking herself, knowing she has paid about $70 to borrow $100.

“For rent,” she says of her last loan. “I get them to cover basic needs, really basic needs — food, water, shelter. They’re not for a car payment or anything like that, just to make ends meet because sometimes kids get sick. It goes back to not having paid sick days. I guess it’s a glass half full situation: If they weren’t there, I don’t know where I’d get the extra income, but at the same time, the interest rate is just so high.”

In 2010 the Colorado legislature passed payday loan consumer protections that lengthen the term of a payday loan to six months minimum from the typical two weeks — at which point a borrower has to pay that roughly $70 start-up fee to “roll over” the loan for two more weeks. The average borrower repeated that process for three to six months.

Jimenez feels more could still be done to lower the cost of payday loans, which are still about five times more expensive than credit card debt. Even so, she says the reforms made a crucial difference between just being able to manage the loans and getting caught by them.

“Before, it was like you could see a light at the end of the tunnel but it was so small it looked like a pinhole. Then you were taking out another payday loan just to pay off the first one. It was a vicious, vicious cycle,” she remembers. “At least now the light is a little brighter and the goal a little more easily attainable.”

In addition to setting minimum six-month terms for the loans, the laws also required borrowers be able to pay down the debt in installments, instead of one lump sum, and that they have the option to pay off the loan early in full without paying any fines. Since enacted, borrowers have been saving an estimated $40 million a year on what are still the most expensive loans available on the market.

Now Colorado’s law, considered a compromise between industry interests and consumer protections, may serve as a national model as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau weighs regulations on payday loans coast to coast.

“The key lesson from Colorado is that successful reform requires tackling the fundamental unaffordability of payday loans,” said Nick Bourke, who has researched the topic for PEW Charitable Trust. “Federal regulations should require a strong ability-to-repay standard and require lenders to make loans repayable over a period of time.”

PEW’s research shows that, of the 12 million Americans who take payday loans each year, most borrowers are asking for about $375 to cover routine expenses. The loans typically are made for a period of two weeks, at which point the lump sum is due or borrowers can re-up the loan by paying the initial fee again, usually in the region of $75. But, PEW found, borrowers can rarely afford to repay the loans after two weeks, since the loan amounts typically account for a third of their take-home pay. As a result, folks end up rolling over their loans for an average of half a year, ultimately racking up “interest” rates that exceed 300 percent. The interest on credit card debt, largely considered expensive, is more like 24 percent.

Most states’ payday loan consumer protections, if they have them, focus on capping that interest rate. This approach has received some push back, with opponents saying it effectively drives payday lenders out of the regulated state. In Oregon, for example, a 2007 law capping interest at 36 percent reduced the number of payday lenders from 346 to 82 in its first year on the books.

“The question is, are those people better off without credit? Current economics hasn’t answered that question yet. Some studies say people do better, that they go to friends and family or just scrape by, others say they do worse, that they get kicked out their apartment, etcetera,” said Jim Hawkins, a law professor at the University of Houston who focuses on banking.

That concern thwarted years of attempts to pass a rate cap in Colorado and ultimately motivated the compromise bill that has garnered so much national attention, according to the measure’s sponsor, House Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver).

“We were definitely going down,” remembered Ferrandino. “We’d tried for years to get a bill passed. It failed two years in a row and was on the cusp of failing again. So we sat down with key votes in Senate and said: ‘Our goal is to end the cycle of debt. We have no problem with payday loans continuing or with people having access to capital, but let’s not let folks get caught in this cycle. If that’s our shared goal, what are policies we can do to get that done?’”

Legislators focused on affordability, extending the terms of the loans and making them payable in installments. The law acknowledged the 45 percent interest cap the state placed on all loans but is also give payday lenders ways to charge more fees so that the de facto interest rates for payday loans in Colorado now hover around 129 percent.

“Borrowers have been pretty happy with the changes to the loans. They reported that they were more manageable, that they could actually be paid off and were ultimately much cheaper,” said Rich Jones at the Bell Policy Center, who helped draft the bill.

PEW’s national research indicates that 90 percent of borrowers want more time to repay their loans and 80 percent say regulation should require those payments to be affordable — more like 5 percent of a borrower’s monthly income than 33 percent.

Colorado’s bill did end up taking a big bite out of the payday loan industry in the state, halving the number of stores and reducing the total number of loans from 1.57 million a year before the law to 444,000 per year. Even so, supporters of the bill note that the industry fared better in Colorado than it did in other regulated states and that borrowers’ overall access to lenders went largely unchanged.

“It was not uncommon to go to parts of Denver and see a payday lending store on all four corners of a busy intersection,” said Jones. “Now maybe there’s just one or two stores in a block instead of four or five.”

“The fact that we had more payday loan stores than Starbucks didn’t make sense,” quipped Ferrandino.

“Seventy percent of the population still lives within 10 miles of a payday loan store and that figure is roughly the same as under the old law,” said Jones.

Under Dodd-Frank federal law, the CFPB does not have the authority to set the interest rate caps other states have used to regulate payday loans. They can, however, take a leaf out of Colorado statute and require that lenders give borrowers the option to pay down the loans over an extended period of time. In fact, the CFPB could go even further and require that those payments meet an affordability standard based on the borrower’s income.

Bourke says PEW wants to see the CFPB make these kinds of changes in their next round of rulemaking and notes that the agency’s own studies indicate they’re moving that direction.

“They see there’s tremendous evidence of the problems and potential harm in this market and they intend to do something about it,” said Bourke. “I think there’s a good chance they’ll put in the repayment standard.”

Bourke isn’t the only one with his eye on the CFPB. Folks in the academy are also closely watching the issue.

Hawkins noted that while Texas has very minimal regulations on how much lenders are allowed to charge for payday loans, they’ve tried alternative routes to protecting consumers based on behavioral economics. In Texas, lenders are required to tell borrowers how long it usually takes for people to repay the loans and to provide direct cost comparisons to the same loan taken on a credit card.

“To me that’s an exciting innovation that doesn’t hamper the industry, but still ensures that folks are educated,” said Hawkins, adding that initial research indicates the information does impact borrowers’ decisions.

Hawkins also noted that Colorado’s law hit the industry in fairly specific ways — namely, it vastly reduced the number of small, local lenders. PEW research backs this up. Before the law was passed, large lenders owned just over half the stores in Colorado. Today they own closer to 75 percent.

“It’s just another policy choice. Do you want to only have big companies?” asked Hawkins, noting that the CFPB has made a point of focusing on small businesses.

In all likelihood, the CFPB will be working on this issue for much of the next year, which means they’ll be making these rules while Republicans, who will take control of the Senate next session, continue to chip away at the agency’s authority.

To that end, there might be more to learn from Colorado than policy alone.

“There’s this attitude in Colorado when it comes to policy issues that you don’t have to go all the way or have nothing at all, that you can come up with meaningful compromise,” said Ferrandino. “I think what we were able to do here proves that what the CFPB is looking at is reasonable.”

[Photo by Tom Magliery]

CFPB Consumer protection elizabeth warren Mark Ferrandino Payday Loans […]

Gov. Nixon vetoes payday loans bill, saying it won't protect …

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed Senate Bill 694 on Thursday, saying it was false hope for true reform of payday loan company policies.

The bill would, in some cases, cap the interest rate at 35 percent for borrowers. However, on short-term loans the interest rate would skyrocket.

On a 14-day loan, the interest rate would be allowed to increase to more than 900 percent if it’s stretched out over one year. The bill would also allow borrowers to get multiple loans from multiple companies at once.

For those reasons, Gov. Nixon called the bill a sham effort and said it won’t protect Missourians from the downward spiral into debt.

Metro man Elliott Clark, who lost his home after taking out payday loans, applauds the governor’s decision, while the bill sponsor says this bill was at least a step in the right direction.

Smoking ribs and getting ready for a family reunion, Clark is totally in his element. For him, taking care of his family is priority number one.

“My pride would not let me let my family do without. Nobody in their right mind does,” he said.

Clark has children he sent to college, he’s a Marine, a Vietnam-era veteran, and he was happy with his simple but good life.

“We were doing okay until my wife fell and broke her ankle in three places,” he explained.

Thirty-five thousand dollars in medical bills forced him into seeking about $2,500 in payday loans.

“Over the course of five years, that’s how long I had these loans, I wound up paying $30,000 in interest,” he said.

Clark spoke out against current payday loan policies, and he supports Gov. Nixon’s veto of Senate Bill 694.

The bill would prohibit payday lenders from giving multiple loans to the same person, unless that person went to several different companies. The governor said that would only prolong the cycle of debt.

Senator Mike Cunningham, a Republican from the Springfield area, sponsored the bill. He says it capped most interest rates at 35 percent, as reform advocates wanted. Senator Cunningham says the bill also would have allowed borrowers to have an extended payment plan for their first loan from a company, which he believes would have helped.

But Clark says the bill wasn’t strong enough to protect people like him, just trying to do the best he can.

[…]

Why are Senate DFLers blocking the toughest payday loan …

This article is one in a series of occasional articles funded by a grant from the Northwest Area Foundation.

Efforts to crack down on payday loans in Minnesota could again be headed to “Wait’ll-next-year’’ status.

Yes, the Minnesota House has passed a bill that would put tougher restrictions on operations that charge the state’s poorest interest rates of 250 percent-plus.

And yes, the governor on Monday tried to shed more light on the business practices that operate in the shadows of decency.

“I urge the Senate to put the House bill to a vote and see whether legislators of both parties are willing to stand up to protect the interests of the people of Minnesota, rather than the economic interests of payday lenders,’’ the governor said from his bully pulpit.

The House bill more strictly limits payday lenders’ repeat business, with tougher checks on borrowers’ ability to repay.

But even with a weaker Senate bill, Deputy Majority Leader Jeff Hayden is having a hard time rounding up votes.

“It’s bogged down,’’ said the Minneapolis DFLer. “The industry is fighting anything we try to do.’’

This is one of those baffling issues. Why is it so difficult to put tougher restrictions on an industry that seems to have a strong odor? Why does Minnesota continue to protect business practices numerous states outlawed and the Department of Defense condemned? Why has this issue become partisan, with virtually no Republicans supporting clamping down on the industry?

Or is it really that partisan, when you look at campaign contributions?

Soaring business, soaring traps

A MinnPost series last year underscored the industry’s growth. Between 2007 and 2011, payday loans in Minnesota skyrocketed from 170,000 to 350,000 annually, totaling almost $100 million. The state’s biggest payday loan company, Payday America, pocketed $6 million in 2011 payday profits.

In House committee testimony this session, Anna Brelje told her story to explain how the process works — and exploits.

She was 24 years old, had a medical crisis (no insurance) and ended up in debt. Even working fulltime, she couldn’t keep up with her bills. She borrowed $300 through a payday loan operation, couldn’t pay it back in two weeks, so next payday borrowed again to pay back the first loan.

Sen. Jeff Hayden

“I ended up trapped,’’ she said; in a two-year period, she paid more than $2,500 in fees.

Out of the trap now thanks to a decent job, Brelje became a leader in the fight against the practices. She’s also involved her Minneapolis church, Holy Trinity Lutheran.

Several religious organizations have also pushed legislators to act.

In some ways, this seems like a classic case of those with the greatest needs having the least Capitol clout.

Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights and commerce committee chairman, shakes his head at the situation.

“The people that get caught up in these traps are not stupid people,’’ Atkins said. “They’re people who are just desperate and they’re struggling to get by. Everyone else gets protected.’’

But Sen. David Hann, the Senate minority leader, sees things differently. Tighter restrictions on the payday loan operations might end up hurting the very people they intend to help.

“I don’t know what side the angels are on in this situation,’’ Hann said. “As I understand it, the people who are using these mechanisms to borrow money can’t avail themselves of traditional ways. These are mechanisms are a way to get a loan. There are people who don’t have means to get credit elsewhere. There has to be an accommodation.’’

Rixmann: GOP power, DFL donor

Let’s take time out to deal with a rumor that floats around the Minnesota payday loan issue:

Brad Rixmann is founder and CEO of Pawn America, which owns Payday America. Rixmann also is a major player in Republican Party politics. He is a big donor. He was an honorary chairman of Tom Emmer’s gubernatorial campaign.

That leads to the rumor that Rixmann has heavy influence on the Republican House and Senate caucuses.

Hann says Rixmann’s name never has come up during caucus discussions of payday-loan crackdown efforts.

Pawn America

Brad Rixmann

Still, Hann was asked, given that GOP legislators frequently say unions shape DFL policies, isn’t it reasonable to suggest outside influences shape GOP policies?

“Frankly, when you talk about an individual donor, it doesn’t compare to the magnitude of a union,’’ Hann replied. “When you talk about a union, you’re talking about both money and people on the ground. There is no individual contributor who can compare to that.’’

Rep. Tim Sanders, R-Blaine, is a member of the House commerce committee and a bill foe.

The Rixmann influence? “His name hasn’t come up,’’ Sanders said.

But Republicans don’t control the Legislature — Democrats do. They could pass any bill on their own. Why don’t they?

Well, as long as we’re talking Rixmann donations, know this:

In 2013, Rixmann gave $10,000 to the DFL Senate Caucus, $5,000 to the DFL House Caucus, $500 to the 52nd Senate District DFL, and $4,000 to Gov. Dayton, according to the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

While the funds obviously didn’t buy Dayton’s or the House’s support, Senators might have some explaining to do about their fifth-largest 2013 individual contributor. Rixmann also gave the Senate DFL an additional $24,750 between 2006 and 2012, according to the CFPDB.)

Understand, Rixmann was more generous with Republican causes. Still, his name is known — if not mentioned in caucus sessions — among DFLers as well as Republicans.

Cap doesn’t mean ‘need is just going away’

Rixmann was not available for comment. But Chuck Armstrong, chief legislative officer for Rixmann Companies, did explain why the business is blocking legislative efforts to cap how many annual loans a customer could take out.

The House bill’s main portion would prevent a customer from getting more than four loans a year. The weaker Senate version would cap that at eight. The House also requires tougher credit-worthiness checks.

Rep. Joe Atkins

But the big issue is the caps — payday lenders count on repeat borrowers. And some of those borrowers testified that they repeatedly count on payday lenders.

“To cap it doesn’t mean the need is just going to go away,’’ Armstrong contends.

Currently, most of Payday America’s 20,000 customers use the service more than eight times in a year, he said. Payday America, at least, allows customers to take out only one loan at a time, he adds.

Armstrong admits that, on the surface, it’s easy to paint a bleak picture of the operations such as Payday America. But, he said, despite statistics showing people paying more than 200 percent interest on loans, the majority of Payday America’s customers pay back their loans in two weeks.

“If you borrow $350 and you pay it back in two weeks, it’ll cost you $35,’’ he said. “Our customers are very deliberate in their decisions. … Our customers love us.’’

(The state’s Department of Commerce reported that in 2011, Minnesotans using payday loans paid fees and other costs for loans that amounted to an interest rate of 237 percent. These institutions get around the state’s tough usury laws because they are licensed as Industrial Loan and Thrift operations, not payday lenders. This is what is called a big loophole.)

During the session, Armstrong said, Payday America customers sent 10,000 e-mails and letters to legislators urging them to oppose the proposed restrictions. On the company’s website, there is an invitation for customers to urge legislators to block proposed changes.

The opposition’s trump card is that if the Legislature did pass the proposed restrictions, the licensed lending business might be forced to close. That would mean the only avenues for loans would be via the Internet or on from street corner loan sharks.

“The real danger is the Internet,’’ Armstrong said. “There are Internet predators. We’re a brick-and-mortar, licensed business.’’

Refusing to stop the ‘terrible treadmill’

With time running out, it appears that those lobbying to stop legislative action hold the stronger hand.

“The whole point of what we’re trying to do is get people off that terrible treadmill where they keep borrowing to pay back an earlier loan,’’ Hayden said.

But just to get the Senate version of the bill through the Senate commerce committee, headed by James Metzen, an old DFLer long known for being friendly to anything associated with banking, Hayden had to water down his bill.

“The Senate is just more conservative,” Hayden said.

Will the measure get off the floor? On Monday, several people pushing for legislative action met briefly outside the Senate chamber with majority leader Tom Bakk.

What was said?

“He told us they still don’t have the votes,” said Meghan Olsen Biebighauser, a Holy Trinity organizer who helps lead religious opposition to payday lending.

Someone else in the group said, “Don’t you think he could get the votes if he really wanted them?”

[…]

Payday loan rules encouraged – Brainerd Dispatch

ST. PAUL – Minnesota Senators are awaiting a vote on new regulations for payday loans.

The House passed a bill that would reduce some loan interest rates, require that a lender make sure a person has the ability to repay a loan and limit the number of payday loans a lender can make to a person each year. Committee testimony indicated that some people get a new loan as soon as they pay off another one.

“The House has passed a very strong bill on payday lending, putting some limitations on what these lenders can do to vulnerable Minnesotans, both in terms of lowering the interest rates (and reducing) the number of loans they can make per month,” Gov. Mark Dayton said. “I urge the Senate to put the House bill to a vote and see whether legislators of both parties are willing to stand up to protect the interests of the people of Minnesota, rather than the economic interests of the payday lenders.”

[…]

Missouri lawmakers pass changes to payday loans | FOX2now.com

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO (AP) – Missouri lawmakers have final approval to legislation that would eliminate renewals on payday loans and lower the interest lenders can charge.

The Senate voted to send the bill to Gov. Jay Nixon Thursday with a 26-4 vote. The House passed the same measure earlier this week.

Current law allows payday loans to be renewed up to six times and permits lenders to charge fees and interest up to 75 percent of the original loan amount. The legislation abolishes the renewals and reduces the cap on interest to 35 percent. Borrowers could also enroll in an extended payment plan without being charged additional fees on interest.

In Missouri, these small, unsecured loans can be up to $500 and last from 14 to 31 days.

___

Payday loans is SB694

Online:

Legislature: http://www.moga.mo.gov

[…]

Women's salaries, payday loans and concealed weapons: April 24 …

Louisiana Legislative Roundup provides a morning digest of what happened during the last 24 hours in the Louisiana Legislature, and what is expected to happen in the day ahead. It will run every day during the 2014 legislative session.

WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY

After several hours of testimony, a Louisiana Senate Committee voted down a bill that would have let voters decide whether they wanted to expand the state Medicaid program using federal money. Louisiana’s congressional delegation weighed in on the Senate Committee’s decision to reject the legislation that might have expanded Medicaid. Legislators would be allowed to carry concealed weapons in places where the general public cannot, under a bill that was passed by the state Senate. The Senate passed legislation that would require demographic information — race, gender, household income and other similar information — be collected on students who receive the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarship in Louisiana. A House Committee passed legislation that would require a pregnant woman to be left on life support until a child’s birth if the woman’s life can be “reasonably maintained” and the fetus is still developing normally. A bill to put more elected members on Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education failed to passed out of the House. The Louisiana House agreed to offer a driver’s license that complies with the federal regulations known as REAL ID. A bill to give the governor more authority to remove New Orleans-area levee board members has been scaled back by its sponsor. A Senate Committee passed legislation that would require equal pay for women doing the same job as a men in the private sector. A Senate Committee approved a bill to cap that number of payday loans a person can take out annually.

ON THE DOCKET FOR TODAY

The Louisiana House of Representatives CONVENES at 9 a.m. when they will discuss several bills, including a proposal to restrict minors access to electronic cigarettes.
The state Senate CONVENES at 9 a.m. when they will discuss several bills, including a proposal to restructure the East Baton Rouge Parish school system. The Senate Education Committee will take up a bill to repeal a law that allows for the teaching of creationism in Louisiana public schools. A few proposals to establish a state minimum wage will come up in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.

. . . . . .

Julia O’Donoghue is a state politics reporter based in Baton Rouge. She can be reached at jodonoghue@nola.com or on Twitter at @jsodonoghue. Please consider following us on Facebook at NOLA.com and NOLA.com-Baton Rouge. […]

2014 legislative update: Alabama House passes payday loan …


2014 legislative update: Alabama House passes payday loan database bill

The Alabama House voted 93-1 Thursday for a bill to create a statewide common database of payday loans. HB 145, sponsored by Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, now goes to the Senate.

Todd’s bill would make it easier to enforce a current state law that prohibits borrowers from taking out more than $500 in payday loans at any one time. Without a common database, many borrowers can hop from storefront to storefront and take out multiple $500 payday loans, racking up thousands of dollars of debt.

HB 145 would not reduce the annual interest rate that payday lenders can charge in Alabama from the current 456 percent APR. But a common database would alert lenders when a borrower already had reached the $500 cap and prevent them from extending additional loans to that borrower.

The state Banking Department last year proposed regulations to create a common database, but lenders sued to block the plan, claiming the department lacked the authority to do so. Todd’s bill would require lenders to submit information annually to the department, which many advocates say would greatly improve available data about the industry.

Lawmakers will return Tuesday for the 25th of 30 allowable meeting days during the 2014 regular session, which is expected to last until early April.

By Chris Sanders, communications director. Policy analyst Stephen Stetson contributed to this report. Posted March 13, 2014.

[…]

Bill to help payday loan borrowers passes Senate | Idaho Business …

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Bill to help payday loan borrowers passes Senate

by The Associated Press

Published: March 10,2014

2:56 pm Mon, March 10, 2014

A plan to give people who use payday loans more leeway in settling their debt passed the Idaho Senate.

The bill, which passed 21-13 March 10, would let borrowers set up a payment plan to return the money if they get behind.

It also blocks lenders from piling fees and interest onto the remaining balance if borrowers opt for the payment plan.

The bill’s sponsor, Twin Falls Republican Sen. Lee Heider, says it can provide an out for someone “caught in a lending cycle.”

But Nampa Republican Sen. Todd Lakey said he didn’t think the government should be tasked with protecting people from their own decisions.

Other opponents argued it could unfairly target small lenders with less ability to stretch their loans.

The bill now heads to the House.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. <</span> >


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