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Payday loan bill set for vote from Assembly committee

MADISON - A state Assembly committee is scheduled to vote today on new pay-day loan regulations announced yesterday by majority Democrats.

Wisconsin is the only state not to have legal limits on pay-day lenders, and Assistant Majority Leader Donna Seidel of Wausau says "the Wild West days are over."

But Senate Democrat Jim Sullivan of Wauwatosa put a monkey-wrench into the proceedings, by proposing an alternative that includes a 33-percent interest limit for those who carry over their loans past their next pay-days. Sullivan also wants a 900-dollar limit on those loans - as opposed to the 600 proposed by Assembly Democrats. The Assembly version does not include an interest cap.

Speaker Mike Sheridan (D-Janesville) said an earlier limit of 36-percent goes "too far." Since then, it's been learned he's been dating a lobbyist for the pay-day loan industry, Shanna Wycoff. And yesterday, a Sheridan spokeswoman said both he and Wycoff attended a conference in Georgia last fall, sponsored by two groups Wycoff has lobbied for. The State Legislative Leaders Foundation paid Sheridan's costs, and he and Wycoff reportedly did not travel together or stay together at the meeting. The speaker's office also said the two went separately to events in Washington D.C. and California.