Friday, March 15, 2019

These week, Institute staff worked hard to send loud and clear messages to members of the Indiana House of Representatives about the best (and worst) strategies to help struggling Hoosiers. Can you take three minutes TODAY to amplify the messages?


Indiana prides itself on being "business friendly," but that shouldn't extend to payday lenders who take advantage of financially distressed Hoosiers with 192% APR loans.

Senate Bill 613 throws the state's doors wide open to payday and subprime lenders. It guts our criminal loansharking statute, invites a 'new breed' of lender into our state, and raises the allowable costs and rates on many, many types of loans. It will put more Hoosiers at risk of default, bankruptcy, and foreclosure and strain the limited resources of neighborhoods, social service agencies, churches, and friends and family who ultimately support Hoosiers in financial crisis.

It has been called "the single most negative piece of consumer credit legislation" seen in Indiana in over forty years by a retired deputy director of the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions who now serves alongside the Institute as as an Indiana Assets and Opportunity Network steering committee member.

The Institute joined many other veterans' groups, faith leaders, social service agencies, and community groups at a press conference Monday to oppose the bill. You can read more about the press conference here, and see the media coverage to date on the Indiana Assets and Opportunity Network website. You can also watch Institute Senior Policy Analyst Erin Macey discuss SB 613 and the need for payday loan reform on WFYI's Indiana Lawmakers.

At the conclusion of the press conference, Tanya Bell, President and CEO of Indiana Black Expo, Inc. summed up SB 613 by saying, "Making loansharking legal under the guise of helping is absurd." We couldn't agree more.

AMPLIFY THE MESSAGE: Contact your House representative and tell them to vote no on SB 613. You can also contact Chairman Burton, who could single-handedly kill the bill by refusing to give it a hearing, at or 317-234-3827.


Senate Bill 440, which would give TANF its first eligibility and cost of living adjustment since 1988, received a hearing on Tuesday. Jessica Fraser, Director of the Institute, testified in support, noting that the program offers struggling Hoosiers a very limited window of assistance - two years in a lifetime - to get on their feet and in family-sustaining employment. But with eligibility and benefit levels that have eroded to 16% of the federal poverty guidelines, next to no-one can qualify for or benefit from the program.

SB 440 also received support from Covering Kids and Families, Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Feeding Indiana's Hungry. Chairman Frizzell held the bill to seek answers to lingering questions about the use of federal TANF dollars.

AMPLIFY THE MESSAGE: Join us in using social media to share photos or favorite memories from 1988 to illustrate the need for change. Use the hashtag #TransformTANF.

ALSO, PLEASE HEAR SB 210 and HB 1141.

These two bills would make it easier for Hoosiers with suspended licenses to get back on the road with a valid license. SB 210 temporarily reduces license reinstatement fees and HB 1141 creates a traffic amnesty program for fines and fees. 

AMPLIFY THE MESSAGE: Contact committee chairs to ask that these bills receive a hearing. SB 210 has been assigned to House Roads and Transportation, Chair Holli Sullivan, 800-382-9841. HB 1141 has been assigned to Senate Tax and Fiscal, Chair Travis Holdman, 800-382-9467.


Earlier this week, we sent an appeal for donations to support our advocacy. It is your generosity that enables us to bring our research to the statehouse and call for change.

THANK YOU for your support of our efforts! 

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