Thursday, April 20, 2006

BREAKING: payday loan reform passes!

Just received word from Patty Wentz of Our Oregon that a comprehensive payday loan reform bill has passed both the Oregon House and Senate.

The press release, in its entirety:

It’s a victory for the little guy. Members of the faith community, social service agencies and other payday loan reform advocates celebrated the passage of real payday loan reform today. Passed by both the Senate and House in today’s special legislative session, the bill will go to the Governor’s desk next week. Governor Kulongoski has committed to signing this important legislation designed to protect working families in Oregon.

Today’s bill contained all provisions of the initiative petition 135, the Payday Loan Reform Act, including limits on payday loan interest and fees, and extending the minimum loan period to 31 days.

Social advocates and religious groups have worked tirelessly for years to pass real payday loan reform in the state legislature in the face of heavy campaign lobbying from the payday loan industry.

The issue has put groups like Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and
Oregon Food Bank at odds with some of the most well funded lobbyists in Salem, and until the activists took matters into their own hands it looked as if the payday loan industry was winning. Just last year during the 2005 session, Speaker Karen Minnis refused to allow a hearing on a bill similar to the one she supported today.

Angela Martin, campaign manager for Oregonians for Payday Loan Reform, characterizes Karen Minnis’ position today as a true change of heart. After voting against reform in 2003, preventing a hearing on a similar bill in 2005, and accepting significant campaign contributions from the payday loan industry, Karen Minnis has shifted her position on the issue.

Minnis, of Wood Village, has recently been penned in on the home front. Portland, Gresham and Troutdale city councils have recently passed ordinances to regulate the payday loan shops locally. Minnis’ challenger, Rob Brading, with the East County Citizens for Pay Day Loan Reform, as been an active supporter of protecting Oregon’s working families by regulating predatory lenders.

Thanks to the work of the statewide network of social service advocates and faith communities, today was a day that working families get one in the win column. Real reform and real protection will come in from the statewide legislation. And the little guy wins over the lobbyists.

Well..isn't that interesting.

Minnis had a true change of heart because she could see the political writing on the wall. She was going to get hammered hard on this issue throughout the campaign. She knew it was going to damage her deeply. Especially since she lied her ass off about her role in scuttling pay day loan reform last session.

I'm glad to see this bill pass. Its now headed to Goobernor K, where he'll be signing it.