Before adjourning on April 3, the Alabama Legislature declined to grant final approval to a payday loan bill that had seemed close to being passed out of the Senate. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham), required approval by the Senate and concurrence by the House. It bill would have established a central database to track payday loans.
Todd and supporters, including Alabama Arise and Alabama AARP, had negotiated for months with the industry. The bill originally would have placed a 36 percent interest-rate cap on payday loans and established a database to enforce a $500 limit on the aggregate amount of payday loans for an individual. Although industry opposition seemed to kill the proposal in February, a compromise brought it back -- although it was stripped down to the database provision. Payday lenders currently use multiple databases to track loans, making it difficult to enforce the $500 limit.
After passing the House last month, the new version of the bill appeared ready to move on the final day of the session. Sen. Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro), however, delayed consideration due to concern about how personal information would be shared in the database. Sen. Shadrack McGill (R-Scottsboro), meanwhile, introduced an amendment to increase the cap on payday loans from $500 to $1,000.