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Tag: Steve Hobbs


Proposal for installment loans with up to 200 percent interest clears another hurdle

The House Committee on Business and Financial Services approved a bill backed by Seattle-based payday lender Moneytree today. The vote: 13-to-2.

Senate Bill 5312 would allow lenders to make loans of up to $1,500 with effective interest rates nearing 200 percent and repayment periods stretching from six months to a year.

Currently, payday lenders can lend up to $700. Those loans — which can have effective interest rates of up to 391 percent — must be repaid with one balloon payment on the borrower’s next payday.

The Business and Financial Services Committee Chair, Rep. Steve Kirby, R-Tacoma,

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Tacoma lawmaker calls for changes to payday-like loan bill

Tacoma Democratic Rep. Steve Kirby says he will be proposing some “significant changes” to a payday lender-backed proposal making its way through the House. He said the end result would be a loan product that could replace payday loans.

Senate Bill 5312 would allow lenders to make a new type of high-interest unsecured loan – sort of like a payday loan with an installment plan. Kirby said the changes he will be pushing for would make the bill more consumer-friendly.

Opponents of the bill, like Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, said the proposed changes are

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Senate OKs new payday-like loan

Controversial legislation proposing a new type of ultra high-interest loan was fast tracked to the Senate floor today. In an unusual twist, one of the bill’s cosponsors, Sen. Nick Harper, D-Everett, even voted against it. It passed anyway, 30-to-18.

Harper said he didn’t understand why the bill, which would allow installment loans with effective interest rates nearing 220 percent, was being rushed to a vote when it still needed work. He said sending the bill to the House to get “fixed” was just “punting the ball.”

The move also started a 30-minute floor fight with vocal payday loan critic, Sen.

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Sen. Hatfield says Democrats accepting committee chairmanships under GOP control are gaining power for districts

State Sen. Brian Hatfield says Democrats like him, Sen. Steve Hobbs and Sen. Tracey Eide have more power for their districts by accepting committee chair or co-chair roles under the Republican coalition’s power structure. Hatfield, a conservative from Raymond, said members of the Senate Democratic Caucus are now in the minority and by accepting the Republicans’ offer they can call any bluff from the new majority – if they fail to be bipartisan.

As outlined this morning, Hatfield will chair the restructured Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee, which he had led under a different configuration the past four years. Hobbs continues as chair of the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. Eide, who is Senate Democrats’ floor leader, will co-chair the Senate Transportation with Republican Sen. Curtis King of Yakima.

“I think there is still a little bitterness over how it was done (by the new Senate Majority Coalition Caucus) but it’s not aimed at us,” Hatfield said of the 24 Democrats remaining in the Democratic Caucus. He spoke in the Senate wings a few minutes before Lt. Gov. Brad Owen gaveled the Senate into session.

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Senate Republicans poised to take over Environment, Higher Ed, Parks, Trade, Human Services; remaining question marks include Sens. Hobbs, Hatfield, Eide

Washington will get a new Democratic governor this week with a green-energy agenda, but Republicans are preparing to take the helm of the Senate committee that would consider such proposals — along with other panels dealing with colleges, trade, parks and prisons.

The Legislature officially returns to session today at noon with the specifics of how the Senate will work still up in the air. After several Democrats turned down its offers to lead committees, the Republicans-plus-two-Democrats majority in the Senate has issued a new proposal to the minority.

As described in an e-mail that was circulated among Democratic senators

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Tim Sheldon, Rodney Tom hope to force power-sharing arrangement in Senate

Democrats will outnumber Republicans next year in a closely divided state Senate, but if Sens. Tim Sheldon and Rodney Tom have their way, the two parties will have to share power in unprecedented fashion.

Last session, the two conservative Democrats and one other, departing Sen. Jim Kastama, joined Republicans to form a “philosophical majority” and advance their own budget plan. Now their continued role as king-makers hinges on the re-election of Vancouver Republican Sen. Don Benton, who is down by just 16 votes in a race almost certainly headed for a recount.

If Benton wins, Tom and Sheldon have choices to make.

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Bills by Rep. Hasegawa and Sen. Prentice would create a state bank

Faced with a tight credit market, recession and dwindling state funds, one proposal lawmakers have on the table is setting up a state bank.

Bills in the House and Senate would create the Washington Investment Trust, a move applauded by many small business owners, but opposed by the State Treasurer, who says it would be risky and unconstitutional.

Rep. Bob Hasegawa, the House bill’s sponsor, said the proposal was modeled after a similar institution in North Dakota and based on the idea that state credit should not be at the disposal of Bank of America, where Washington currently keeps its money.

“Why don’t we create our own institution, keep that money in our state and we make money off our money that we can then reinvest back into our community?” said Hasegawa.

He said that the North Dakota bank had been successful, leading to a budget surplus this year and preventing bank failures during the 2008 financial crisis.

The bills would set up a blue ribbon task force charged with organizing the bank, in which all state funds would be deposited. The bank could then use that money to make loans to businesses, farms and students and could also lend to other financial institutions to stabilize the Washington economy.

Assistant State Treasurer Wolfgang Opitz said he and Treasurer James McIntire opposed the idea.

“This bill, if adopted, would place both public funds and the state as a whole at significant risk,” he said.

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Push on procedure comes with risk for committee chairman Jim Kastama

In Olympia, whether you oppose your party is not as important as when you oppose your party.

Leaders of the majority Democrats don’t expect their members to always toe the party line. But they do expect support on procedural votes.

So it was unusual Monday for Democratic Sen. Jim Kastama to propose, and Democratic Sens. Tim Sheldon and Steve Hobbs to support, clearing the way for a vote on a resolution that party leaders didn’t want to hear.

Another supporter Kastama had lined up was Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, the powerful Democratic chairwoman of the Transportation Committee. Haugen said after the vote she would have

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