Ohio rejects payday loan petitions led by Springfield pastor


A petition seeking to put a state constitutional amendment on November’s ballot to restrict payday lending in Ohio was rejected by the state.

Carl Ruby, a Springfield pastor and activist, is leading the statewide initiative and said the rejection is disappointing but not fatal to the cause.

“Making these changes sets us back a few weeks but has no impact on our long-term goals,” he said. “We are determined to get Ohio borrowers the protection they deserve.”

The Ohio Attorney’s General’s Office said language on a petition submitted to the office had wording issues. The office pointed to the summary of the petition and said it lacked or contradicted important information inside the petition.

Earlier this month, leaders of the effort submitted petition language and signatures from about 2,000 Ohio voters to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The group will have to recollect the signatures and resubmit the petition to the attorney general’s office. Once approved, the group will then need to collect more than 305,000 valid voter signatures by July 4 to qualify for the November ballot.

PREVIOUSLY: Springfield pastor wants to put payday loan limits on ballot

Proponents of the constitutional amendment say the industry takes advantage of the poor and charges up to 591 percent interest for loans.

Industry spokesman Pat Crowley said short-term loan lenders serve many Ohioans fairly and opponents misrepresent facts about the industry. He told the Springfield News-Sun last year the industry charges fees, not interest rates. Their services help people pay medical bills and buy groceries, or “everyday things that people need to survive,” he has said.

Springfield has 13 such stores are in Springfield and Urbana, many clustered on East Main and South Limestone streets. Ohio in all has more than 830 storefronts that offer payday or car title loans, most of which offer both forms of loans, according to a report by the Center for Responsible Lending.

The group behind the petition is confident they will be able to get the required signatures again and will resubmit shortly, Ruby said.

“It was relatively easy to get the 1,000 signatures needed to file the petition,” Ruby said. “We actually had twice the amount needed and expect many of the same people to sign again.”

MORE: Backers advance ballot measure capping payday interest rates

The group will continue to work to see the ballot question voted on, fellow leader Nate Coffman said.

“We realize this sometimes happens with ballot proposals, and we can easily comply with the change needed. We will keep moving forward and are unwavering in our commitment to reform Ohio’s most-expensive-in-the-nation status for payday loans.”

Originally, the group planned to work through the Ohio legislature, Ruby said, and state Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, along with state Rep. Mike Ashford, D-Toledo, introduced a House bill that would regulate payday loan centers. However, that bill has sat in committee for almost a year now and the group has gotten tired of waiting.

“As we have previously stated, we don’t care how Ohio achieves payday lending reform, so long as it happens,” Coffman said.

READ: Loophole hurts payday loan borrowers in Ohio

Koehler supports the amendment and has sponsored the legislation that is stuck in committee.

“I continue to support both efforts to reform payday lending in Ohio,” Koehler said. “People in Ohio continue to be taken advantage of because 650 paddy lending storefronts continue to skirt the law passed in 2008.”

The services are important, he said, but companies need to be forced to follow strict guidelines.

“Individuals in Ohio need access to this type of credit without being preyed on by companies that don’t follow the Short Term Loan Act,” he said. “I am hoping to submit substitute language for House Bill 123 that is based on input from all parties that have offered input in the last 12 months. “



Reader Comments


Next Up in Politics

Ohio Senate votes to crack down on ‘revenge porn’
Ohio Senate votes to crack down on ‘revenge porn’

The Ohio Senate voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of a bill that would crack down on “revenge porn” — the practice of distributing sexually explicit images or videos of an ex-lover or others without consent. RELATED: Revenge port victim: ‘The cell phone had more rights than me’ State Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Austintown...
Pay raise for Ohio lawmakers added to bill to help families of police, firefighters
Pay raise for Ohio lawmakers added to bill to help families of police, firefighters

Lawmakers put a pay raise for elected officials — including themselves — into legislation that would provide health care benefits for the widows and children of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty. The House Finance Committee amended Senate Bill 296 on Thursday to include a pay bump for lawmakers — their first pay hike...
Under pressure, drugmaker lowering price of $4,000 overdose drug
Under pressure, drugmaker lowering price of $4,000 overdose drug

A drug manufacturer that produces a life–saving opioid overdose drug will reduce the price of that drug after two senators — one from Ohio — complained that the company was gouging customers. Sen. Rob Portman, R–Ohio, and Sen. Tom Carper, D–Delaware, found in a Nov. 18 report that drug manufacturer kaléo increased...
Gov. Kasich thinking about job in media, what’s next
Gov. Kasich thinking about job in media, what’s next

Departing Ohio Gov. John Kasich seemingly wants it both ways. The President Donald Trump-bashing Republican, long in demand on TV political talk shows, thinks it “likely” he will end up in the news media, hopefully in some “unique” role on television. But at the same time, the last candidate standing in the way of Trump in the...
Ohio Senate set to vote on ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill tomorrow
Ohio Senate set to vote on ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill tomorrow

Action on the so-called “heartbeat” abortion ban bill stalled again in the Ohio Senate but may come as soon as today. The Senate Health Committee is expected to reconvene to consider amendments to House Bill 258, which would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected — sometimes as early as six weeks before women know...
More Stories