Ruling Opens Door for Petitions
August 1, 2012
Thanks to a July 31 decision by the state Supreme Court, voters in Missouri may get a say during the November election on limiting interest rates on payday loans. Six legal challenges, including four involving payday loans, were filed to keep three initiative petitions off the Nov. 6 general election ballot. The court ruling makes the petitions eligible for the ballot if the Secretary of State’s office determines by Aug. 7 that there are enough valid signatures. Supporters of the payday loan petition welcomed the ruling. “The payday lenders and corporate special interests have tried everything in the book to silence Missourians and keep these petitions off the ballot — unsuccessfully. We are happy to put this very long legal process behind us,” said the Rev. James Bryan, a retired Methodist minister and treasurer of Missourians for Responsible Lending. The petition included a 37-word description that asked Missouri voters whether a ceiling on interest rates should be approved. A state initiative caps payday loan interest rates at 36 percent -- a restriction that also would apply to other forms of short-term lending, such as auto title loans. In 2009, a Missouri Division of Finance report found that the average payday loan in the state carried 431 percent interest.
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