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Payday Lending Bill Likely To Be First Major Issue New Speaker Could Have To Confront

Statehouse News Bureau
Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell, left) and Speaker Pro Tem Kirk Schuring (R-Canton)

There may be an end in sight when it comes to the House Speaker impasse that’s caused dysfunction at the Statehouse. A plan has been proposed that could result in either a new speaker or an interim leader who would act as a stand-in for the rest of the year, though some Republicans oppose the idea, and many Democrats say they won’t participate in it. One of the biggest issues the new Speaker could deal with right away is a controversial one - payday lending.

Speaker Pro Tem Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) has proposed that either House members change the rules to keep him on as Speaker till the end of the year, or elect a new Speaker – which could be Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), who has most support among Republican lawmakers.

If Smith takes over, a bill to crackdown on payday lending could be at the top of Smith’s priority list. He’s alluded to the industry playing a role in delaying a speaker vote. “I think nefarious people such as that are absolutely behind a lot of things. I mean the best thing that they can have happen is for us never to come back and we can’t pass that bill,” Smith said.

Payday groups have consistently denied that claim.

Before resigning amid an FBI investigation, former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) asked Schuring to work on changing the bill to possibly compromise with the payday lending industry.

However, Schuring says he is also for the current bill and would bring it to a vote if he were to stay in charge.

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