Restrictions on lending businesses in Longview are up for discussion Thursday in the Longview City Council meeting.
Prompted by District 4 Councilwoman Kristen Ishihara, council members are scheduled to discuss an ordinance that would provide parameters for "credit access businesses" such as title and payday lending outlets.
"You can't let people who can't pay something back, continue to borrow and just put themselves further and further into debt, " she said. "The goal is to protect Longview residents from unreasonable loans, to help prevent them from being severely taken advantage of."
City spokesman Shawn Hara said no action is expected during Thursday's meeting.
"There is a proposed ordinance being put together and, depending on the direction of the council, could come back at a future meeting for consideration, " he said. "The city has begun sending letters to businesses that could be impacted, informing them this discussion would be taking place."
Several area businesses contacted Monday confirmed they had heard from the city, but all declined to comment.
Hara said the ordinance being drafted would be based on ordinances in other cities, as well as on information provided by the Texas Municipal League.
"The ordinance would limit how much (these businesses) can lend over the value of your vehicle or paycheck, " he said. "It puts restrictions on what they can do."
Restrictions provided by the Texas Municipal League include maintaining complete record of loans made by the business for three years that are available for city inspection, as well as limiting the payday loan to no more than 20 percent of the consumer's gross monthly income.
Ishihara said more than 25 cities in Texas already have adopted similar legislation, with some amended zoning ordinances for alternative financial services, which requires a specific-use permit.
"Obviously, it's something that should be handled at a state level but has continuously not been, " she said. "They're not really loans, legally, because of how they're structured."
Regulations on banks prevent them from doing the sort of high-interest loans that end up putting people in a vicious cycle of poverty, Ishihara said.
There has been litigation from such businesses against cities — Austin, San Antonio, Denton and Dallas — that have enacted the model ordinance. ACE Cash Express filed a petition for review Dec. 22 with the Supreme Court.
According to the Texas Municipal League, the petition comes on the heels of the appellate court's dismissal of ACE's attempt to invalidate the city of Denton's payday lending ordinance.
The Texas Municipal League said ACE initially filed a suit against the city in a civil court, arguing that the ordinance exceeded the city's police power, violated due process, and exceeded the city's constitutional authority.
The trial court determined it did not have jurisdiction over the lawsuit, and that the proper place to challenge a criminal ordinance is in a criminal court, not a civil court.
ACE appealed the trial court's decision to the Fort Worth Court of Appeals, which also ruled in favor of the city and dismissed the case.
Later, council members are expected to order a general election for May 7 to elect representatives for City Council Districts 5 and 6.
District 5 is represented by David Wright, elected May 2015 to fill the unexpired term left by previous councilman Richard Manley.
District 6 is represented by Sidney Allen, who first was elected in 2007 and has served the maximum of three three-year terms.
The city will contract with Gregg County Elections Administrator to provide the tabulation and supervision of the central counting station for the election.
Other items on the agenda are six public hearings on zoning requests; a $332, 638 contract with Excel Utility Construction of Longview for the 2015 CDBG Lake Drive Improvements Project; and $199, 650 for utility relocation on FM 2275 at Graystone and McCann roads in support of the TxDOT George Richey Road extension.
John Callaway (August 22, 1936 – June 23, 2009) was an American journalist, who appeared on radio and television as a host, interviewer and moderator. He was the original host of Chicago Tonight, a nightly news program broadcast on the Chicago, Illinois television station WTTW, serving in that role from 1984 to 1999.
John Callaway was born and...
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