Ignored in the Aberdeen American News report on yesterday’s District 3 Legislative candidate forum is the noteworthy agreement of five of the six candidates revealed in the opening question. Asked for our positions on Initiated Measure 21, the real 36% rate cap on payday loans, Republicans Drew Dennert and Rep. Al Novstrup joined Democrats Nikki Bootz, Brooks Briscoe, and me in saying that we will vote Yes on 21 to rein in predatory lending.
Rep. Novstrup’s support for IM 21 is consistent with comments he made in February opposing the payday lenders’ efforts to rig our laws to protect their industry. (Oh, the irony.) Good Stace Nelson Republican Dennert sounded like a good Bernie Sanders Democrat, talking about the need to protect the working class.
The only opposition for IM 21 came from Rep. Dan Kaiser, who resists regulating away poor folks’ last lending option. From the podium, I acknowledged Rep. Kaiser’s strict Libertarian principles against government intrusion in the marketplace and invited him to apply those principles to voting No on Amendment U, the payday lenders’ effort to write special protection for their industry into our state constitution.
The upshot of 5/6 endorsement of IM 21 is that whoever wins in District 3, a majority of District 3’s delegation will recognize that payday lenders are bad for South Dakota, and voters can hold us to our words and expect us to stand against payday lenders’ further predations on Election Day and in the Legislature.