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Payday Lending Reform Issue Takes One Step Closer To Ballot

Advocates for payday loan reform rally outside of the Statehouse in November 2017.
Andy Chow
Advocates for payday loan reform rally outside of the Statehouse in November 2017.

Advocates pushing for a crackdown on payday lenders are one step closer to getting their reform proposal on the November ballot. The group says they’re tired of waiting on lawmakers to act, so they’re going straight to the voters. 

Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform delivered their first batch of petitions to the attorney general’s office. The proposed ballot issue would cap the interest rates of payday loans at 28%.

The group’s Carl Ruby says, for example, that the first payment on a loan can be up to a third of someone’s monthly income.

“So if you’re falling behind on monthly expenses one month and take out a loan and then the next month a third of your income is going toward that first payment there’s no way they’re going to be able to make it,” said Ruby.

Voters approved a similar measure 10 years ago but Ruby says this measure would close loopholes the industry has used to still raise interest rates.

Opponents from the payday loan industry say this undermines the free market and could wipe out their storefronts.

Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform had been pushing for a bipartisan bill, HB123, which has received just two committee hearings. The bill's language reflects most of what the ballot issue attempts to do. The measure also leaves room for lawmakers to still pass that bill.

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) says they're closer to putting out a new proposal that makes changes to HB123.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.