TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A controversial proposal that would revamp regulations for payday lenders continued moving through the House on Tuesday.
The House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee approved the bill (HB 857), which would allow payday lenders to provide longer-term loans for larger sums of money than under current law.
The bill would allow loans up to $1,000, with repayment over 60 to 90 days. Current law limits the loans to $500 for periods of seven to 31 days.
The bill has drawn opposition from groups that contend it could hurt low-income consumers who borrow money from the businesses.
“Do not foist on them a higher-cost product than they have now,” Alice Vickers, an attorney for the Florida Alliance for Consumer Protection, told the panel Tuesday.
But backers say payday loans can play an important role for many low-income people who do not have access to other types of loans.
“We are allowing an entity to provide a product,” Rep. Sean Shaw, D-Tampa, said. “That is not exploitation.”
Supporters also say the measure is needed because of federal regulations proposed to take effect in August 2019 on the types of smaller-dollar, shorter-term loans made by payday lenders in Florida.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, and Minority Leader Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, needs to clear the Commerce Committee before it could go to the House floor.
The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled Thursday to take up the Senate version of the bill (SB 920), filed by Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island.