OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would raise the state cap on short-term personal loans was passed in the legislature.
After much debate, House Bill 1913 was passed by the state legislature giving Oklahomans a chance to take out larger short-term personal loans.
"I think it's a common sense change to Oklahoma's laws for small loans,” Trent England, the Senior Vice President for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, said.
The bill would raise the state’s cap to $15,000 per person. It also extends the payment period to a year with a 17% interest rate per month.
"People choose whether or not to take out these loans. Nobody is being forced to take out a loan, to not take out a loan. We're creating a framework in state law that allows people to have access to these financial products,” England said.
However opponents, like Rep. Forrest Bennett who voted no, feel this could end up bringing Oklahomans more financial stress.
"I think the message this bill sends is we're not going to fund core services of government but here's another loan product that you can use to get you out of a tight spot but put you further into debt,” Bennett told NewsChannel 4.
He feels this adds to an existing problem in our state.
"We have a $900 million dollar budget shortfall right now and over the last several year,s agencies that take care of the most vulnerable in our population have been cut, leaving people stranded,” Bennett said.
However Bennett said while he is not a fan of HB 1913, he thinks there is one redeeming quality.
"There's a database to make sure that people aren't abusing the payday loan system or getting themselves so far into debt that they can't get out,” Bennett said.
HB 1913 passed in the Senate 28-16.