The Last Word About SB 66, the 36% Rate Cap, Misleading Industry Information; We Could Have Built a Better Case

On Saturday we wrote about Retake’s transition, the launch of Rethink Our Democracy, and a critical need for contributions right now to help us develop a 501c3. Sadly, the donate button was corrupted and failed to work. It works now. Read on!

First, here’s the link to donate to Retake.
And here’s the link to Saturday’s post about our new direction and why we’re asking you to contribute.

If you didn’t see Saturday’s post, we plan to significantly reduce the frequency of our posts over the next few months. We need to devote energy to completing the Legislative Report Card and to developing our 501c3, and that will take a good deal of time. We are still sorting out exactly what our approach to the blog will look like, but we are thinking we will post twice a week:

  • One post would present a substantive analysis of an important NM challenge along with summaries of how other states and nations have effectively addressed that problem. It might well include video interviews with practitioners in other states, describing how they implemented the strategy, the barriers they encountered and how they overcame them. The post would identify the stakeholders who would need to be engaged and be part of implementing the strategy. A key step in advancing the strategy would often involve passing legislation, and in those instances we would work to find legislators who might sponsor a bill to advance the strategy. We would also seek to introduce the idea to the legislature in Interim Hearings.
  • Our goal is to assemble a series of briefs on a variety of challenges facing NM, handbooks that can be used to widen the perspective on what is possible in NM and begin the process of implementing solutions. Developing that kind of brief will involve reviewing lots of articles, handbooks, and other research. In the second post each week, we will annotate those sources and provide links.

Our hope is that you can be a part of this work. We will also be re-starting our Transformation Study Group. We hope members will agree to work on this project with Roxanne and I so we have more folks working together on the research. If you are interested in being part of this work, please write to us at RetakeResponse@gmail.com. Onward.


Week in Review

This will be our last “Week in Review” for awhile and we pared back on how much description we incorporate. As Roxanne noted, “Your wordy post titles tell the story.”


Retake Conversation with Common Cause’s Viki Harrison

The video recording of my interview with Viki Harrison is now available. This interview aired Sat., March 27, 8:30 am on KSFR 101.1 FM. Viki is the former Executive Director of Common Cause NM who now holds a position on the national team. Excellent interview. Go to Retake Conversations to view this recording and many others.


Retake Zoominar With Joe Monahan

Wednesday, April 7, 6 pm: What Really Just Happened in the Roundhouse, a Conversation with Joe Monahan and Paul Gibson, moderated by Roxanne Barber. Throughout the legislative session, Joe Monahan has been an important source of insights that dug beneath the votes. He wrote several times about bills Retake was supporting and we thought a conversation with him now, while the session is fresh, is a good way to achieve a better understanding of the forces that are in play at the Roundhouse.

Click here to register for this important discussion.


Our Final Report on SB 66:
What We Need To Do Now

In every SB 66 hearing, payday industry lobbyists offered postured but impassioned pleas for legislators to protect New Mexicans in desperate need of $500 to repair a car so s/he could get to work.

Initially, I felt that some very good Democrats made bad votes after being misled by industry testimony. I felt that this misinformation preyed on legislators strapped for time, exhausted, without staff, but sympathetic to the plight of the poor. But after listening to the floor hearing testimony a second time, I realized there was more in play here. Industry lobbyists had indeed misled legislators, but I think that bill sponsors and allies supporting the bill, including Retake, had not presented an air tight case, a case strong enough so that legislators like Reps. Cadena and Louis were 100% comfortable that in reducing the rate to 36% they were not causing the folks about whom ALL OF US are concerned to wind up with no resources.

During the coming months Retake, ThinkNM, and other allies will work with credit unions to create a statewide map locating every credit union branch in the state with a legend attached that will show how many loans under $1,000 and under $500 each branch issued and at what rate. If we identify any “credit deserts,” we will have identified an excellent branch opportunity for a credit union to locate a satellite and we will try to make that happen.

In short, rather than blaming good legislators for voting to protect vulnerable borrowers, we will work to ensure that it is 100% certain that low interest loans are available. I am 1000% sure that Reps. Herrera, Cadena, Louis and others who supported Rep. Lundstrom’s amendment would have voted for 36% if we had been able to provide irrefutable evidence of low-rate credit availability statewide. We will also work with some of the conscientious storefront lenders, lenders who have indicated that they could operate under a 36% rate cap and would welcome ridding the state of the bad actors in the industry. We will not abandon the project.

This will be the last we write about SB 66 for awhile as the Governor has announced her call for the Special Session starting tomorrow. She did not add SB 66 to the call, but given that a 36% rate cap was one of her stated priorities in 2021, we want to be sure she puts it on the call in the 2022 short session. And so our “call to action” is to write and call the Governor and ask that she now publicly commit to putting a 36% rate cap bill on the 2022 short session call. If she does, we will be ready.

What To Say to the Governnor, But In Your Own Words

Politely express your disappointment that SB 66 did not pass in the Regular Session and that it was not put on the Special Session call. Tell her that you are very active and assure her that bills sponsors and allies will work together to build an irrefutable case for a 36% rate cap.

It is important to stress that you and Retake do not blame most legislators, that they were misled by lobbyists for the industry (expected), and that bill sponsors and allies now better understand the concerns of those legislators and will use that knowledge to address their concerns. Ask the Governor to make a public commitment to putting predatory lending on the 2022 call and express her continued support for a 36% all-inclusive rate cap.

Call the Governor at (505) 476-2200. Or comment online at: https://www.governor.state.nm.us/contact-the-governor/

Retake and our allies got complacent. We looked at the 8-4 Democrat advantage in House Judiciary and thought it was a done deal. SB 66 would go to the floor where it would easily pass. This didn’t happen because too many good Democrats didn’t have the time to deliberate and dig into the claims by the lending industry. We need to make the truth abundantly clear and help good Dems vote differently in 2022.

That’s it for now! And please, if you possibly can, contribute to keep Retake moving forward. The legal fees and other costs in developing the 501c3 are more than Roxanne and I can cover.

In solidarity, hope, and gratitude,

Paul & Roxanne



Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation

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3 replies

  1. Let’s also find some of the lendees who have been able to get those loans and get their testimony to the legislature. Thanks for your work. I signed up for a monthly contribution, and I can do it again, if it did not go through.

  2. Dear Paul and Roxanne,

    I still stand by my comment that, before you do all of the work on founding Retake’s own 501(c)(3), you spend time talking with people at the Santa Fe Community Foundation and exploring whether you could team up with another nonprofit whose goals are similar to your own.

    Once you get into fundraising and paying salaries, you will understand why make sure it’s the right thing and you are approaching it in the right way for best results makes sense.

    All the best,

    Linda

    • I thought I had replied to this previously, but we have been advised not to merge with another non-profit, as we need to have an independent voice and there really isn’t another c3 out there that does what we plan to do. I was a development director for 12 years of my career….very aware of the competition for funds.

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