Bills that sought limits on car title loan interest rates and that would have imposed a mandatory sentence of at least 25 years in prison for first-time sex offenders have “died” at the statehouse. A deadline has passed for action on bills that do not deal with spending or taxes. If a policy proposal hasn’t won the backing of the House or Senate and a committee in the opposite chamber, then the bills are dead for the year now.
House Democratic Leader Pat Murphy of Dubuque says Republican leaders in the House refused to allow debate on a bill that cleared the Senate which would have limited car title loan interest rates to 21 percent. The interest on such loans are higher than 300 percent in some instances. “We think this is basically predatory lending on people who don’t know how to manage their money or poor people,” Murphy says.
House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says several education initiatives that passed the House with bipartisan support failed to clear the Senate Education Committee. “It just baffles me that Senate Democrats refused to even allow these bills to be debated in committee,” Rants says. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, say some of those proposals will be rolled into other legislation that’s still pending at the statehouse.
Lawmakers also say they’re still working to develop a package of proposals to deal with sex offender issues and that 25-year prison sentence for a first child sex abuse conviction is likely to be included.