Friday, April 14, 2006

Karen Minnis: I'll get you my pretty..and your payday loan reform, too!

GOP House Speaker Karen Minnis has had a busy week. First she attempts to parse out the monumentally stupid GOP campaign fundraising video filmed at the State Capitol--opening the door for her opponent to use her office for his own campaign (not to mention violating the building use policy of the Capitol). Now she's trying to pass off her PERSONAL SCUTTLING of payday loan legislation during the last legislative session. Minnis is blaming fellow GOPer Wayne Krieger for the bill's demise.

Minnis is suffering from selective memory..which is my charitable way of saying that she's lying her ass off.

Last legislative session, a payday loan reform bill was introduced into the Oregon House with bipartisan support. House Bill 2761 would have:

*Capped interest and fees at $15 per $100 borrowed on the first loan and $10 per $100 for rollovers

*Established a 31 day loan term; and,

*Required a 25% principle buy down for rollovers.

Speaker Minnis assigned the bill to the House State and Federal Affairs Committee, where she knew it would die. According to a June 6, 2005 Oregonian story entitled GOVERNOR SEEKS SECURITY OVERHAUL (which you have to get from the Oregonian archives--free at the library), the House State and Federal Affairs Committee was nicknamed the "Death Committee". It was named as such because it hadn't met all session. Bills were sent there by the Speaker to die.

At that time, the Committee was chaired by Wayne Scott (R-Oregon City) who took a boatload of cash from payday loan companies for his campaign.

You'd think this would be enough, but Minnis' nefarious conduct with the payday loan legislation doesn't end there.

While Minnis was working to submarine the House version of payday loan reform, the Democratically controlled Oregon Senate introduced an identical version of the bill to their chamber (SB545). An amended version was passed on May 31, 2005. It received a reading in the House on June 1, 2005 and Minnis sent it to the "Death Committee" now chaired by Wayne Krieger, (R-Gold Beach) where it languished.

The House Democrats used a procedural motion to pull the bill from committee and bring it to an immediate floor vote. Minnis led the House Republicans against this move and the motion failed 25 to 33.

The bill was later put on the committee docket for a hearing. But it was cancelled. The announcement for the hearing cancellation came directly from the Speaker's office.

So why would Minnis be such an advocate for payday loans?

Probably because she's the only person who took more campaign money from payday loan lenders than Wayne Scott.