State lawmakers return to the statehouse Tuesday for a brief stay of only a day or two to deal with Gov. Mark Sanford’s vetoes. Among the bills at the top of the agenda is payday lending legislation, an issue which the General Assembly finally compromised on after years of debate. Richland County Senator Joel Lourie says he hopes to override the veto, but he says, “You never know… There are a couple of things I don’t predict. I don’t predict how the Gamecocks are going to play, and I don’t predict what the legislature is going to do. But I’m cautiously optimistic. Based on the votes needed to pass the bill, I think we can override. But…you never know what’s going on that day.”
Lourie says he’s not aware of any state where a governor has overridden payday lending restrictions.
The final version of the bill protects consumers by preventing anyone from taking out more than one loan at a time, and creates a waiting period of 24 hours before a borrower is allowed to take out another loan after paying one off.
Lourie isn’t sure why it has taken so long to pass payday lending legislation. “I expect it had to do with the number of lenders growing in the last few years and it became obvious that it’s something we have to deal with. Some states have banned the industry. I voted for that but there is not enough support for that in the legislature. What you do in the legislature is vote for what you can get passed that will have impact.”
Lourie says this year’s legislation will create a review process that will give lawmakers important information and probably make any future legislation easier. “We require the State Board of Financial Institutions, the board that oversees the industry, to come back before the House and Senate and committees and give a report, an update, on an annual basis. Now that we have this database, we’ll be able to see how often people are using the product.”