WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT
INDUSTRY LEGISLATION AT THE MOMENT
Prepare For An Unfriendly Legislative Session
January 21, 2008
WHAT WE FACE IN 08
As you know the 2008
legislative session kicks off in a couple of weeks.
This is beginning to shape up to be a very bad session
for us! This report is the *long version* of what
we know about possible legislation at the moment.
First, the only bills we are
absolutely sure of at the moment are the bills currently
being promoted by State Banking. These bills, if
enacted, would have significant impact on our
businesses. As you may know, the
Council for Fair Lending (Borrow
Smart Alabama) has worked hard on the government
relations and media relations front to promote our
industry at the grass-roots level here in Alabama.
This effort has significantly improved our insight by
improving communication with those who have strongly
opposed us in the past. Here is one example.
Click here to go to our report from back in the
fall and then scroll down the page to the subhead
"CONCLUSION." Then, click on the link that says
"announcement with Black Caucus" and read all about
our efforts with an important group.
To the best of our knowledge
this is the first effort our industry (payday and title
lenders) has made to reach out to this group. They have
always been on the opposite side of our industry and
they have a significant influence in legislation. As a
result of our effort and the effort of our lobbyist, we
have developed a good working relationship with the
leadership and with many of the members. We know from
this that *some* (not all) of their members plan to
introduce legislation. These are some of the same
members who have been behind legislation opposing our
industry in the past. So, this is a second
possibility for legislation.
Third, you may
recall the bills that came up last year that were sent
to a senate committee chaired by Senator Byrne. If
so, you recall nothing passed. We were just plain lucky
and we dodged a major bullet when Byrne left the
Senate. We were (and are) clearly in their crosshairs.
Even though we dodged the bullet, everyone in the study
group agreed they would continue to work on the
legislation. So, we are fairly certain this group in
some form will return.
The bottom line is that we (payday
and title lending) continue to be great targets for the
politicians. It is so critical that both of our trade
and TPCA) continue the work they do in supporting cash
advance and title lending respectively. Borrow
Smart is now engaged on the public media and the government
front and we encourage everyone who cares about the
survival of our industry in Alabama
us in this important effort. But first, you should support
Modern and TPCA. We view our effort as a compliment and
enhancement to the effort of both trade groups.
Certainly, if you look at our membership and
leadership you see leaders from both associations --
except for the large national companies. We hope in the
future they too will work together with us to
preserve our industry in Alabama.
WHAT WE ARE DOING ABOUT IT
At Borrow Smart we firmly
believe a professional, direct lobbying effort by our
trade groups is absolutely essential! But, the
days of only having a lobbying effort and having
meetings just to pass along information between members
are about over (feel good meetings). Just look at the
states around us if you have any doubts whatsoever (FL,
GA, DC, PA, OR, NC). They all had lobbying efforts
and trade associations. Where are they today? They are
gone. Out of business (here,
If we want to be around in
the months and years ahead we must take a strong
stance at the grass roots level to get the truth out
about our industry directly to the public. That is what we do at
Borrow Smart Alabama. Our adversaries have sure done a
great job of getting their message out! You can see the results
of their effort as noted by the state list above.
Remember, the old saying, "all politics are local."
That's why our focus is a grass-roots program to speak
for our industry -- in this state, as one voice and
to promote the truth to the public about our industry and
about our customers here in Alabama. The days of
having our adversaries define us and what we do and
trash us in the media, without any public response by
our industry, are now over.
IS IT REALLY WORKING?
From this report you can
see, this is shaping up to be one of the most
"legislatively active" years we have ever seen in our
industry. Thankfully, we have decent resources to deal
with this. To our knowledge no other state has put
together a Borrow Smart type grass roots effort to
combat the problems we face. Without a full public
campaign to compliment our legislative effort we stand a
very strong chance of joining the list of states
above. Our adversaries know their formula works
and they are counting on using it in each state until
every single one of us are out of business.
Even with all our industry
resources, we still face mighty significant obstacles
this year. We need the support and help from everyone
who benefits from this industry -- not just a select few
as we presently have. And, our effort is not just
lobbying, but more importantly, it is the support of our
lobbying effort by spkeaking the truth about our industry
and about our customers directly to the public! It
is work to change the public perception of our industry
through well proven public communications techniques.
And, it is work to challenge the untruths created by our
adversaries in the media. We do this because we
is what drives the legislative effort.
If no one does this our days
are numbered. And, if we don't do it, who
will do it?