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Public Hearing on Bill to Double Amount of Payday Loan

Brandon Moseley



By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, May 6, a public hearing was held in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on SB446.  SB446 was sponsored by State Senator Tom Whatley (R-Auburn).

Sen. Whatley said that SB446 was needed to level the playing field for Alabama Pay Day Loan lenders who face competition from the internet.  Whatley said that his bill takes the maximum limit for a payday loan from $500 to up to $1000.  I can go online and borrow $1500 from online lenders.  Our guys are limited to $500.  “What this bill does is protect the Alabama free market society.” Whatley’s bill takes the limit from $500 to $1000.


Sen, Whatley said that the objections to his bill do not come from payday lending customers.  The people with objections to his bill have a problem with aesthetics of brick and mortar payday lenders.

“That is just wrong”

Roy Hutchison said that Sen. Whatley did a great job of explaining the need for this bill. Online lenders are not regulated by Alabama or the US The payday loans cap was set in 1993 at $500. $750 is what $500 was then. The industry is serving the needs of the community.

Shay Farley, the Alabama Appleseed legal director said “I disagree with why this bill is needed.  We already have the small loan act. Currently there are 1170 licensees under the small loan act.  The difference between a payday loan and a small loan is the interest rate.  456 percent versus 120 percent.”

State banking laws allow consumers to declare any internet debt null and void that exceeds the $500 limit is unenforceable.  She accused the bill of attempting to get around the database.

Sen. Whatley said we can take that out.

Lena Lester said, “I am here to speak for the poorer people this morning. I am on disability.  When I borrow money payday loans are there for me. I don’t like to go to my son and my family to borrow money. I don’t like to go online. Payday loans are there for me. I don’t understand why anybody would take that away from the poor people.  I prefer dealing with people from Alabama.”

Sen. Linda Coleman (D-Birmingham) said this does not do away with Payday Loans.

Lester: “I was very concerned about people in the payday loan office losing their jobs.”

Pete Session, a policy analyst for Alabama Arise, said that he opposed the bill.  Said that the 456 percent interest rate on loans they can not pay back is his objection. “People all over the state care about this issue…There is not a risk of payday loan regulations driving people online.” Our goal should not be to try to legalize those practices. The federal government will deal with the out of state out of country online lenders.  “We should have laws that reflect our values.”

Mack Wood said “I would like to say thank you for allowing me to speak on behalf of the industry and the consumers of Alabama.  I have been in this business for 1995.  Have a small store front.  We believe by raising the cap you will level the playing field.  There are big misconceptions about online lenders.  They makes up 50 percent of the business.  The number of storefronts have declined by 30 percent.  Internet lenders have taken the business.  Many people cannot get by on their $500, they need more money.”

Wood said that the argument that the state can declare loans null and void is inaccurate. They have had that option for 15 years and have done that twice.

Sen. Coleman asked Wood: “Are you willing to lower that to 30 percent, which is the rate on military loans.”

Wood: “I don’t know of a single payday lender that does military loans.  I can’t make money at that rate.”

Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) said, “I have had conflicting reports on the interest rate and am seeking clarification.”

“Sen. Whatley suggested that the interest rates presented to us today are inaccurate.  The small loan and the payday loan have different qualifications.  They are not the same loan.”

Chairman Slade Blackwell (R-Mountain Brook) said, “I have a bill that I am working on as well.”

The bill was carried over.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with six and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook.

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Alabama Democratic Conference endorses Walt Maddox for governor

Sam Mattison



The Alabama Democratic Conference officially threw their support behind Walt Maddox, which signals that Maddox is quickly becoming the favored candidate in the Democratic race for governor.

Maddox announced the endorsement on Saturday through a tweet and declared that the move is adding to his momentum in the gubernatorial race.

Through a statement after the tweet, Maddox said the endorsement was “vital” to candidates looking to win the Democratic nomination.


Just to illustrate the power of the ADC endorsement, since 1960, no candidate has ever won the democratic primary without the endorsement of ADC and New South,” Maddox said. “I have been honored to receive the endorsement of many distinguished Alabamians, elected officials, community leaders, unions and political organizations.”

Maddox has racked up a number of endorsements in the race for governor with the latest being one from Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on Thursday.

Similarly, Maddox received the backing of the New South Coalition and many endorsements from key Democratic lawmakers in the state.

While the endorsements do not guarantee Maddox a win in June, they are quickly becoming a signal that Maddox has the support of both the established Democrats in power and the grassroots movement of progressives in the state.

ADC’s endorsement also excludes his opponents from receiving the backing of the organization. Maddox’s opponents include former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb and former state Rep. James Fields.

Traditionally, Democrats have had a hard time getting elected into statewide positions since 2010. Democrats across the country are hoping for blue wave this election season spurred on by President Donald Trump’s unpopularity.

In Alabama, many Democrats look to Doug Jones’ victory in December for inspiration for their campaigns. Maddox was no different when asked about the possibility of victory during a televised debate in April.

“I believe Alabama is ready to elect a Democrat as governor,” Maddox said in April.

Maddox and others face off in less than a month in the party primaries. The winner will go to face the Republican candidate in November.

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This week in Alabama politics: Patricia Todd, Endorsements, and Gina Haspel

Sam Mattison



The Alabama Capital on a stormy day in May.

Here’s everything you need to know for this week in Alabama politics:

The tweet that engulfed the governor’s race

Earlier this week, a tweet by state Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, suggested that Gov. Kay Ivey was a closeted lesbian and the tweet encouraged people to out the governor.


Todd’s tweet came after Ivey’s challenger Scott Dawson said the governor’s administration appropriated state funds for an LGBT group. The governor’s campaign said that the tens of thousands of dollars came from a federal grant and not the state’s funds.

Ivey, through her campaign, vehemently denied the closeted homosexual charge as a “disgusting lie” and called Todd a “left wing political operative.”

Todd, who is Alabama’s only openly gay lawmaker, faced scrutiny from the LGBT community, and a Florida-based LGBT group rescinded an offer to Todd to head their organization as an executive director.

In an interview with radio hosts Matt Murphy and Aunie Lindenberg, Todd said the tweet came in “haste” and was a result of frustration with the governor’s comments on an LGBT organization.

High-Profile Endorsements

This week also saw some high-profile endorsements in the governor’s race in both the Democrats and Republicans.

On the Democrat side, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin threw his support behind Walt Maddox. Woodfin, a rising star in Alabama’s progressive scene, announced the decision on Thursday.

Maddox currently holds the most endorsement from Alabama Democratic officials, but his opponent Sue Bell Cobb is holding fast until election day in June.

Cobb has been criticized over the past few weeks for her hiring of a registered sex offender.

Paul Littlejohn III, who worked as a field director in Cobb’s campaign, was convicted 3 decades ago for the rape and sodomy of a 30-year-old woman. Littlejohn said he is a reformed man and he was a preacher at a Jefferson County Church.

Law enforcement arrested Littlejohn last Friday and charged him with violating an Alabama law that prohibits sex offenders from working and living near day cares and elementary schools.

Cobb called the reports a “political attack.”

For the GOP, Ivey secured the endorsement of the NRA, which is a coveted endorsement in Alabama.

The group gave Ivey an “A” rating, which is one of the highest ratings the organization can give, and they also announced that they supported Attorney General Steve Marshall as well.

Gina Haspel’s nomination stirs up bad blood between Doug Jones and ALGOP

The Senate confirmed CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel on Thursday, but the nomination brought up some sour feelings between the Alabama GOP and state’s only Democratic U.S. senator.

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones announced his no vote on Haspel earlier this week, and he is the only Democrat senator from a Trump-leaning state to do so.

Jones’ main complaint came from Haspel’s comments on the morality of a controversial interrogation program that some advocates called torture.

The junior senator’s comments were heard at home and the Alabama GOP blasted Jones through a press release. The party has been critical of the senator since his placement in the Senate in January.

Jones narrowly won a Special Election in December, and he will have to fight to retain his position in 2020.

The Alabama GOP have reminded Jones of the impending election, and they suggest that the general election will be enough to dethrone the senator.

Everything Else

The Alabama Political Reporter sat down with two candidates for lieutenant governor this week.

APR’s Editor-in-Chief Bill Britt interviewed Twinkle Cavanaugh, who currently serves as the Public Service Commission president.

Josh Moon, an investigative reporter/columnist for APR, interviewed Will Ainsworth, who is a state representative from Guntersville, Alabama.

The two candidates represented two different perspectives with Ainsworth taking pot shots at Cavanaugh while the PSC president sat on her record of bringing jobs to the state.

Roy Moore, who has not been silent since his December loss to Doug Jones, spoke up in a race for a local state Senate seat. Moore endorsed Tim Sprayberry for a state Senate seat left occupied after incumbent Gerald Dial announced he would not seek election.

A state Senate race in Montgomery ended in a Democratic victory, but the winner cannot rest.

Montgomery City Council Member David Burke won the Senate District 26 race on Tuesday. The seat, which was considered in the Democrat’s favor, was left vacant after Sen. Quinton Ross took the job as president of ASU.

Burke edged out state Rep. John Knight for the Democratic nomination in a special election in February, but he will now have to face more Democratic challengers in June as he once again competes in a competitive primary for the seat.

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Mayor Woodfin endorses Mayor Maddox for governor

Brandon Moseley



Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, right, endorses Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walt Maddox, the mayor of Tuscaloosa, left.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on Thursday announced that he was endorsing Tuscaloosa Mayor  Walt Maddox for governor at a joint news conference in Birmingham.

“It’s my great honor to stand here with a proven leader, Walt Maddox. I have watched in the last decade as Walt has helped transform Tuscaloosa,” Woodfin said. “By pulling together folks from all walks of life as they created a new shared vision for their community. Walt’s ability to convince people to work together – Black and White, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican – has inspired how I now seek to lead Birmingham into a brand new era of excellence. Unfortunately, way too often, we as Alabamians have simply settled for what has always been…. From Mobile to Muscle Shoals, from Dothan to Decatur, from Woodlawn to West End, Alabama we deserve better. Earlier, I said it is my great honor to stand beside a proven leader. Now, I’d like to say it is my great privilege to offer my endorsement and my support to Walt Maddox and his campaign for Governor of the great state of Alabama.”

“Mayor Woodfin’s election last year was an indication that Alabama was standing on the threshold of a new generation of leaders,”  Maddox said. “A generation of leaders who are focused on social, economic, and environmental justice. Leaders who are focused on transparency and accountability. Leaders who are focused on results and not rhetoric. Leaders who transcend petty politics and the differences that once divided us. Leaders who believe in the future. Mayor Woodfin is a Mayor who believes in all those things and I am honored beyond measure to have his endorsement.”


The announcement was made at Birmingham’s Intermodal Transit Station on Morris Avenue.

There, long-distance Greyhound buses, the city’s local transit buses, and the Amtrak railroad all come together in one facility, which cost over $30 million. No state Department of Transportation were used in the building of the Intermodal Transit Station.

Maddox said that Alabama is the only state that does not spend any of its state transportation dollars are transit, and that needs to change.

Reporters asked Woodfin why he endorsed now instead of waiting until after the primaries.

Woodfin said that when he was running for office he promised that he would not be afraid to take a stand and that is what he is doing.

Maddox said that the state needs to move beyond talking about mountain oysters and Confederate Memorials.

Maddox faces a crowded Democratic primary that includes Judge Sue Bell Cobb, Doug “New Blue Smith”, former State Representative James Fields, and Chris Countryman.

The major party primaries will be on June 5.


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Public Hearing on Bill to Double Amount of Payday Loan

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 3 min