The outlook for cutting the interest rate charged by payday lenders remains unclear after the House Finance Committee Wednesday voted to hold two related bills for further study. Supporters and opponents describe the issue in completely different ways.
Two bills getting a lot of attention this legislative session will go under the microscope at committee hearings Tuesday. Lawmakers will be discussing legislation abolishing straight-ticket voting and restricting payday lenders.
Moderate Party founder Ken Block is leading an effort to do away with straight ticket voting, a practice also known as using the master lever. Block says the master lever sows confusion and gives an advantage to the ruling Democrats in the General Assembly.
The debate over payday lending is set to begin anew with a Statehouse rally Wednesday afternoon. Efforts to reduce the annual interest charged by payday lenders have died on Smith Hill for the last two years.
The mayors of Warwick, Cranston, Central Falls and Woonsocket are expected to take part in the rally being staged by the Rhode Island Payday Lending Reform Coalition.
Pay day loans are capped at $500, and are supposed to be paid back within two weeks. The annual interest rate on those loans can amount to 260 percent.