Shantel Krebs is on the radio right now—oops! she’s back in the office, so here’s today’s big petition news: the real 36% rate cap petition is in!
36% rate cap petition sponsor Steve Hildebrand says South Dakotans for Responsible Lending just submitted 20,081 signatures to put to a vote his group’s proposal to cap payday loans and car title loans at 36%.
Hildebrand offers this statement on today’s filing:
On behalf of low income people across South Dakota, those who have ever felt financially vulnerable, the thousands of seniors on fixed incomes and all who have crossed the threshold of a payday lender or car title company, Reynold Nesiba, Steve Hickey and I, filed petitions with more than 20,000 signatures of registered voters in South Dakota who believe as we do, that payday lenders should no longer take advantage of one more person in our state.
Our proposed law will cap interest rates for payday lenders and car title companies at 36% – effectively changing this predatory industry that has caught too many South Dakotans in a cycle of deep debt.
Payday lenders in South Dakota charge an average interest rate of 574%. Car title companies charge and average interest rate of 350%. And with most every lender living outside of South Dakota, the millions they make charging low-income South Dakotans exorbitant interest rates, are exported right out of our state. When caught in the payday lender debt trap, low-income families can’t afford to pay their rent or mortgage. Thousands are losing their cars to repossession from out-of-control car title companies.
It’s time to fix this part of the poverty industry.
In order to qualify our ballot measure for the November 2016 ballot, we must secure 13,871 valid signatures by Nov. 9 of this year. Today, we filed 20,081 signatures, 6,210 more than what is required.
We expect the Secretary of State to certify our ballot measure in the coming days. Following certification, we fully expect payday lenders to put their cadre of lawyers to work, filing a lawsuit in circuit court and working to challenge each and every one of the 20,081 signatures we’ve filed.
We remain confident that we followed the laws carefully when gathering signatures across South Dakota and that any lawsuit filed by the payday lenders will not disqualify our ballot measure.
With the work of hundreds of volunteers who have helped qualify our ballot measure, we are so proud of the support we have earned, the education this campaign has provided about the predatory lending industry and our hopeful end result of protecting financially vulnerable consumers here in South Dakota [Steven C. Hildebrand, South Dakotans for Responsible Lending, press release, 2015.11.05].
My sources tell me the poverty industry was paying circulators $25 an hour during the last couple weeks, with $250 bonuses for working Saturday and Sunday, all in an effort to foil the 36% rate cap effort with their own fake 18% rate cap petition. That expensive three-month campaign to trick South Dakota voters out of signing the real 36% rate cap petition has failed. The payday lenders and other loan sharks will now likely pour their millions into further legal challenges against the 36% petition, a propaganda campaign against the 36% rate cap, and a push to confuse voters and thwart the real 36% rate cap with their own deceptive competing ballot measure.
If Secretary Krebs certifies that 36% petition has more than the 13,871 signatures required by law, the 36% rate cap will become Initiated Measure 21 on the 2016 ballot, beneath Referred Laws 19 and 20. With 20,081, the 36% rate cap petition has a nearly 45% cushion, a margin unlikely to be overturned by normal challenge. But as we have seen from the payday lenders’ shady circulators, we shouldn’t expect them to restrict themselves to normal.