Friday, April 21, 2006

Payday loan reform passes....Detractors promise to water it down

Yesterday's special session of the Oregon legislature yielded the passage of comprehensive payday loan reform, but not without some major grumbling and hardcore efforts to lobby it down.

Republican House Majority Leader Wayne Scott complained that the passage of the bill was just election year politics.

That may be true. But frankly that's more a reflection on Leader Scott's ineffectiveness at passing appropriate legislation. There's no excuse for payday lenders to go unregulated.

There was also intense lobbying of the bill, led by Jim Gardner. Gardner is a contract lobbyist who has gigs with Phillip Morris and the pharmaceutical industry. How very appropriate that Gardner would lead a fight to protect lenders who prey on folks in financial dire straits.

The bill which passed yesterday doesn't go into effect until July 07, 2007. That's apparently one of the ways that Minnis was able to talk enough Republicans into voting for it. But there are some who have apparently promised to water the bill down next session.

Kevin over at Preemptive Karma makes note of the fact that a lot of lawmakers felt pushed, prodded and cajoled to get in and get out of the session quickly. At least one complained that they didn't have a chance to read some of the bills.

I'm a little skeptical here, to be honest, especially when it comes to payday loan reform. Lawmakers have known for awhile that this session was coming and which bills would be up. I agree with Kevin that they shouldn't shove bills through without proper reading or consideration. But on the flip side--the Oregon legislature hasn't exactly been an effective legislative body the past few years. Political pressure in an election year is forcing their hand--and I'm not seeing that as a bad thing, necessarily.