INDIANAPOLIS – On Monday, State Senator J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) offered an amendment on the Senate floor to Senate Bill (SB) 613. This amendment would send the issue of small installment loans to an interim study committee to be further reviewed by the legislature.

SB 613 moved to the Senate floor in a disturbing way. Originally, this legislation was assigned to the Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee, a committee familiar with payday lenders and small loans. However, SB 613 was abruptly re-committed to the Senate Commerce and Technology Committee. A nearly 70 page amendment was introduced just the night before the hearing giving legislators little time to understand the extent of the proposed changes. The committee approved the bill on a party line vote of 8-2. Sen. Ford had the following comments on the proposal:

“I have worked hard this session with my Senate colleagues to contain and lessen the predatory policies of payday lenders and their small loans. These high-interest loans trap working Hoosiers in a vicious cycle of never-ending payments while lenders enjoy their high profit margins. Even with the work we’ve accomplished so far, the supermajority decided to push through SB 613, which would just add another form of destructive small loans to the mix.

“Instead of being heard in the proper committee, SB 613 was astonishingly and briskly heard in the Commerce Committee, with members getting less than 12 hours to even read and comprehend the bill and its many amendments. Without providing evidence of how the contents of this bill would not harm Hoosiers, the supermajority approved it without question.

“It is imperative that we give the contents of this proposal more time to review, which is why I urged the Senate to send this bill to a study committee. Until we can guarantee that this bill does not prioritize profits over everyday Hoosiers, it is foolish to ram SB 613 through the legislative process.”

Sen. Ford’s amendment was defeated 16-33 with all Senate Democrats voting in favor of the amendment. The Senate will vote on whether to move SB 613 to the House of Representatives tomorrow.