The Alabama Senate will start debating some sweeping changes to the state's prison system today.
Republican Senator Cam Ward is bringing the bill to the Senate floor, which would change sentencing and probation standards to try and reduce prison overcrowding.
The proposed legislation is based on a year of study by the state prison reform task force. One of the main changes is the creation of a new Class D felony level, which will keep low-level, non-violent offenders out of prison entirely.
Selma City Council members have extended the city's moratorium on new payday loan stores and may extend a ban on issuing new liquor licenses.
Officials voted Tuesday to extend the payday loan store ban for six months. Councilman Michael Johnson says he's researching future restrictions on the businesses, including requiring a certain distance between locations.
A state judge has thrown out a lawsuit from payday lenders looking to challenge regulations requiring a central database to track payday loans.
The Montgomery Advertiser reports a Montgomery judge ruled that the State Banking Department didn't exceed its authority last year by ordering a $500 cap on payday loans and a database to make sure consumers didn't have multiple loans out for more than that amount at one time.
About 50 people rallied on the Statehouse steps in Montgomery to show their support for legislation limiting interest rates on payday and title loans.
Members of the Alliance for Responsible Lending gathered Tuesday to support bills from Democratic Rep. Rod Scott of Fairfield and Patricia Todd of Birmingham that limit interest to 36 percent. The group backing the bills includes representatives of Alabama Appleseed, the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, the state NAACP, and AARP.
Governor Robert Bentley announced a new consumer protection measure today aimed at helping people avoid excessive amounts of debt from payday loans.
The measure will also help lenders by providing a method to ensure they are complying with state law. Under the Alabama Deferred Presentment Services Act, payday lenders are not to issue loans to customers who currently have more than 500 dollars in existing payday loan debt.
Several Alabama legislators are proposing bills to place restrictions on payday and title loans, including capping the interest rates.
Legislators say their bills would limit annual interest rates at 36 percent. The loans can now have annualized rates of 456 percent on payday loans and 300 percent on title loans.
Democrat Ron Scott of Fairfield says he's optimistic about passage because the bills have a broad range of support, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP, AARP and Arise Citizens' Policy Project.
A coalition of groups is pushing legislation to place tighter regulations on payday and title loans, including limiting interest to 36 percent annually.
The groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Arise Citizens' Policy Council and AARP, say payday loans and title loans are a paradise for predatory lenders. At a news conference Thursday, they said interest rates can hit 456 percent annually for payday loans and 300 percent for title loans. In addition to limiting interest rates, they are proposing bills that limit the number of loans a borrower can get each year.