Paragould Senator's Bill to Punish High-Interest Lenders Fails in Committee

MARCH 22, 2005 - Posted at 7:34 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Legislation designed to punish high-interest lenders known as payday loan companies failed in a Senate committee yesterday.

The bill by Senator Tim Wooldridge of Paragould would have charged companies $300 each time they charged interest rates in excess of 17 percent.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee said they felt the companies were already being successfully prosecuted by the state and that the legislation was unnecessary.

Committee members also questioned whether the legislation unfairly targeted one type of business when there are many industries beset by such abuses.

Advocates for the bill said the companies take advantage of those who most need the protection and who have no resources to go after the companies.

Wooldridge said he planned to bring the bill back to the committee later in the session.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)