Legislative Review for Feb. 6: state ports and payday lending

In the Senate Transportation Committee, one of the most contentious debates pitted Republican against Republican in how the state’s ports authority should be governed.  Committee Chairman, Larry Grooms, pushed through the addition of a ports authority advisory board while cutting the governor’s authority to remove board members at will.
According to Grooms, “It would be great if we could have, let’s say, someone from BMW sit on the state’s ports authority board but we can’t do that because they deal directly with the state’s ports authority board.  (However), they can offer advice through the advisory capacity.  That’s why this was set up.”
Aiken County Senator Greg Ryberg says the measure literally removes the governor from the equation.
“I think I’m going to offer the amendment on the floor since we basically neutered the governor and any involvement he has in the port.  We probably ought to remove him from making the appointments also because he’s probably going to get the blame.  This governor is going to be gone in two years and that governor’s going to get the blame because it happened under his watch although he has no oversight.”
The bill is slated for full Senate debate this week.
A bill aimed at the payday lending industry passed favorably out of a House committee last Tuesday.  The measure prevents consumers from taking out more than one loan at a time.  Spartanburg County Representative Greg Mitchell says lawmakers ought to be asking why the banking industry does not do a better job of making short term loans available for middle and low income people who run into a financial emergency.
“When you go in there you don’t have to be embarrassed or taken through this thing like you would have to go through the banks with the credit reports and being denied or looked down upon like some of the banks would do.
“I mean if you look at, they already have checking accounts there at the banks.  Why aren’t they using the banks?”
Mitchell says getting rid of the industry all together would be a bad idea.