Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Missouri HB 1541 - MOVE IT!!!

This morning I called the office of Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson - (573)751-4039 - to ask him to please assign HB 1541 to committee. It really needs to happen THIS WEEK, before the Missouri Legislature adjourns for the season.

My call was a follow-up to the email (todd.richardson@house.mo.gov) I sent last week:

Mr. Speaker,

I am writing today to ask you to please assign HB 1541 to committee as soon as possible. 

As a pastor, I have seen how the exorbitant interest rates of "payday loan" and "title loan" companies can pull families into a cycle of poverty from which it is very difficult to escape. In addition, the companies are by and large out-of-state corporations, and the financial drain to our state is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, as Missouri families send their hard-earned money out of state to pay off these unjust loans.

HB 1541 sets a limit on these interest rates at 36%, which would align our state with the seventeen other states that cap "payday loan" interest rates at this level or lower.

This policy is good for people, good for families, and good for our state. Please send this bill to committee before the upcoming break. Thank you for your time.

Andy Bryan, Pastor
Campbell United Methodist Church
Springfield, Missouri

The injustice of predatory lending is rampant. The oppressive system traps people in poverty. In fact the business models on which such lending companies operates is based on forcing people to renew loans over and over again, or face the legal ramifications of defaulting.

Payday loan companies, title loan companies, used car lots that advertise "automatic credit approval," and on an on and on... Such companies are not just "meeting a need," as their supporters would have you think. It us usury, pure and simple. People of faith used to really, really care about usury. And yet somehow we've drifted away from our focus on that horrific injustice, probably from the fear of being "too political" or some such nonsense.

Missouri House Bill 1541, filed by Republican Representative Lynn Morris, has not yet been assigned to committee, which is the exclusive responsibility of Speaker Richardson. I invite and encourage you to call his office today and ask him to assign this bill to committee so it can proceed. 

HB 1541 makes sense, and brings Missouri in line with seventeen other states with interest rate cap laws on the books. If you have any questions about it, I'd be more than happy to talk with you. 

It's time to move the bill!

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