Politics
8:33 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Payday Loans and Straight-Ticket Voting Under Scrutiny

Two bills getting a lot of attention this legislative session will go under the microscope at committee hearings Tuesday. Lawmakers will be discussing legislation abolishing straight-ticket voting and restricting payday lenders.

Two state Senate committees will review contested legislation Tuesday.
Two state Senate committees will review contested legislation Tuesday.
Credit Kristin Gourlay

Moderate Party founder Ken Block is leading an effort to do away with straight ticket voting, a practice also known as using the master lever. Block says the master lever sows confusion and gives an advantage to the ruling Democrats in the General Assembly.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will discuss straight ticket voting while reviewing a series of bills related to elections.

Meanwhile, the Senate Corporations Committee will hear testimony on a bill that would prohibit payday lending in Rhode Island. A coalition has tried for years to cut the annual interest rate of up to 260 percent charged by payday lenders. The country’s largest payday lender, Advance America, says a poll it commissioned shows Rhode Islanders prefer having the option of using payday loans.