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Has campaign cash stalled payday loan bill? This group thinks so

A statewide coalition of faith leaders wants lawmakers to close the legal loopholes used for the past nine years by payday lenders to charge as much as 591 annual percentage rates on short term loans.

The group has lobbied legislators in support of House Bill 123, a bipartisan bill that would limit monthly payments on the loans to no more than 5 percent of a borrower’s gross monthly income, among other measures.

But although the bill was introduced March 9, it has yet to receive its first hearing. One of the coalition’s members, the Rev. Carl Ruby of the Central Christian Church in Springfield, wonders if campaign contributions from the payday loan industry have put a halt to the legislation.

“We are doing all that we can to move (Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger) to act. I can’t think of any reason not to act on this, except for lobbyist influence and campaign finance contributions,” Ruby said. “This is common sense. There is clearly a need for it.”

Rosenberger spokesman Brad Miller said, “Campaign contributions do not determine the fate of legislation, nor do they dictate the way bills are reviewed and vetted.

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Miller said payday lending has been discussed. “All parties, including those offering loans and those seeking loans, have had input throughout this process, and the Speaker will continue working with the bill sponsor and the caucus to determine the desired path moving forward,” Miller said.

To find out how much the payday lending industry has contributed to Ohio lawmakers, click here.

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