Senate Committee Votes to Legalize Payday Loans in Pennsylvania

Editor’s note:  Many thanks to PJ McGill for forwarding us this important information!  Two Roy’s Rants thumbs down those Senators who helped move this bill out of committee.

HARRISBURG, PA — In a closely divided 8 to 6 vote today, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee approved Senate Bill 975 legalizing payday loans with annual percentage rates of upwards of 300%. The bill moves to the Senate floor, despite the opposition of veterans, seniors, faith groups, and a majority of Pennsylvanians.

The Keystone Research Center issued the following statement on behalf of the Coalition to Stop Predatory Payday Loans in Pennsylvania:

“Senate Bill 975 rolls back the state’s longstanding protections against predatory payday loans. Pennsylvania has been recognized by both the Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.S. Department  of Defense for having among the strongest laws in the nation to keep out predatory payday lenders. A 2010 Pennsylvania Supreme Court case held that loans made in violation of existing law are illegal, even when made online.

“Senate Bill 975 would undo those protections, harming working families across the state. With this bill comes a higher likelihood of bankruptcies in Pennsylvania, and payday lenders gaining direct access to borrowers’ bank accounts. These are just some of the reasons that the bill faces opposition from a majority of Pennsylvanians.”

The Coalition thanks those Senators who stood with Pennsylvanians to oppose this bill: Senators Michael Stack, Lisa Boscola, Larry Farnese, Anthony Williams, Patricia Vance, and John Rafferty. Democratic Chairman Stack made a passionate plea for the committee to do what veterans and others have asked: to reject this bill and keep our existing, strong consumer protections in place.

We are disappointed in those Senators who stood with payday lenders by voting yes on this bill: Senators Pat Browne, Don White, Mike Brubaker, Kim Ward, Jake Corman, John Eichelberger, Joseph Scarnati, and Jim Brewster.

Two Pennsylvania Mayors Elected To Higher Office

The mayor of McKeesport, Jim Brewster (D) won the 45th District State Senate seat on Tuesday.  Brewster has been involved in McKeesport politics for many years, first serving a ten-year stint on city council and then as mayor for the last seven years.  The mayor has helped improve conditions in McKeesport and hopes to do the same thing in Harrisburg.

On the other side of the state, 3-term Hazleton Mayor, Lou Barletta (R) finally ousted 13-term incumbent Paul Kanjorski (D) on his third try and is headed off to represent the 11th Congressional District is Washington, DC.  Mayor Barletta made national headlines when Hazleton passed an immigration law which is being challenged in a federal case by the ACLU.  Barletta said he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Barletta feels being in Congress is the best place to address the immigration issue.