This editorial appeared in The State.
When sure-minded Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell yields to the will of the S.C. House, it's worth taking note.
So when Mr. McConnell led the charge to water down a strong bill to regulate payday lending last week under the guise of passing something the House would approve of, we paid attention. Typically, Mr. McConnell takes the position that the Senate must do what it sees fit, regardless of what the House might think.
And that's the way things should be, particularly when the House is so wrong. The House acted hastily when it passed a flimsy bill that would do much to keep payday lenders thriving and little to protect consumers from these predators. Mr. McConnell, sponsor of a bill similar to the House measure, genuflected at the altar of payday lending with the maneuver he pulled last week, dragging a majority of Banking and Insurance Committee members along with him. What gives?
The panel was to consider a subcommittee bill that would limit payday loans to 25 percent of a person's income or $500, whichever is less, install a seven-day cooling-off period between loans and limit borrowers to one loan at a time. But before the committee could discuss it, Mr. McConnell rammed through his amendment, even ignoring calls from senators to be given time to at least read his plan before voting on it.
The result is a weakened bill that, while limiting consumers to one loan at a time, raises the maximum loan from the current $300 to $500 and slashes the proposed cooling-off-period. Frankly, it's only slightly better than the paltry House bill. Neither the House nor the McConnell-influenced bill would prevent "flipping," the practice that keeps payday lenders in business and borrowers locked in a cycle of debt by taking out a new loan to pay off the old one.
To read the complete editorial, visit The State.