Hey, want to do some easy petitioning? South Dakotans for Responsible Lending is circulating their 36%-interest-rate-cap petition all week at the Sioux Empire Fair, and they would love to have your help!
SDRL is circulating the petition to cap interest rates at 36% and thus put a big dent in payday lenders’ ability to prey upon South Dakotans in tight financial situations. The issue gained big press this week when petition organizer Steve Hildebrand revealed that protesters paid by fake “missionaries” were trying to occupy his coffeehouse, drive away local customers, and smear his reputation with fabricated allegations of racism and classism. This sabotage failed miserably, with hundreds of supporters flocking to the coffeehouse, signing the rate-cap petition, and winning loads of favorable press for Hildebrand and the petition drive. The ringleader of the sabotage, Floyd Pickett, skipped town quickly, having driven the reputation of the payday lending industry even lower by exposing their loan-shark willingness to exploit the poor and harm others to get their way.
South Dakotans for Responsible Lending thus walk into their Sioux Empire Fair booth (Booth 22 in the Expo Building!) with a chance to capitalize on all the good press their movement got this week. I circulated that petition a bit here in Aberdeen this week, and even way up here, folks on the street had heard about the coffeehouse controversy. They are disgusted enough by the triple-digit interest payday lenders charge, but a lot of my signers would say, “Is this petition related to what happened at the coffeehouse in Sioux Falls?” and they’d reach for the pen even more quickly, eager to sign their names not just to save people from bad loans but also to save South Dakota politics from out-staters’ dirty tricks.
South Dakotans want to stand up to payday lenders. South Dakotans want to stand up to Floyd Pickett and the sneaky devils who paid him to harass a local businessman for speaking up. South Dakotans want to stand up for honesty and democracy. South Dakotans want to sign this 36%-rate-cap petition!
In other words, this 36%-rate-cap petition is the easiest petition you’ll circulate this summer. Stand at the CapTheRateSD booth this week, say, “Would you like to sign a petition to cap interest rates and stop payday lenders?” and folks may sign before you get a chance to explain (although you should be able to explain: read the proposed initiated measure, the Attorney General’s explanation, and, some of the press and research CapTheRateSD provides on the harms of payday lending). The hardest part of circulating may not be dealing with rejection (my current rejection rate is very low) keeping a fresh petition sheet on your clipboard and keeping cool on these hot August days.
If you’d like to volunteer, contact South Dakotans for Responsible Lending through their Volunteer webpage on CapTheRateSD.com. You can also get hold of them at 605-261-8988.
Tell the payday lending bosses that South Dakota belongs to us, not them. Head to the Fair, work Petition Booth #22 for a few hours, have some good conversations with your neighbors, and do some good for South Dakota!