Women In Government Involvement:
Representative Patti Bellock is a long-time member of Women In Government. She currently serves on our Board of Directors as the Midwestern Regional Director. She was an original member of the 2003 “Assisting Low Income Families” Task Force meeting. It was at this meeting that Rep. Bellock saw an Annie E. Casey Foundation video on predatory lending that motivated her to work on FES issues.
In 2005, Rep. Bellock spearheaded the Payday Loan Reform Act which has helped citizens of Illinois save more than $20 million in loan fees and interest charges. Rep. Bellock has spoken nationally on the issue of predatory lending and serves as co-President of the Illinois Conference of Women Legislators (COWL) and Vice-Chairperson of Human Services Committee. She is frequently asked to speak on predatory lending issues including with WIG, most recently at our March 9, 2009 FES Conference Call. Rep. Bellock was also a participant in the WIG FES Task Force in June 2008.
In 2008 Rep. Bellock focused on closing loopholes in the 2005 Payday Loan Reform Act with Senate Bill 1993. The original version of the bill removed “the term of 120 days or less” from the definition of products subject to the Payday Loan Reform Act ensuring that the Act covers all payday loans. The bill also restored the ability of the consumer to prepay their loans without penalty.
After numerous open meetings with all the major industry representatives, it was recognized that the Consumer Installment Loan Act (CILA) was the root of the Illinois loopholes. Rep. Bellock and other consumer advocates amended the legislation to also regulate CILA, however, the new version did not have enough support in the House Executive Committee to pass.
Rep. Bellock has also co-sponsored House Bill 2319 to increase the percentage of the earned income tax credit from 5% of the federal tax credit to 7.5% in 2009 and 10% in 2010 and thereafter. In March 2009 HB 2319 passed the Revenue and Finance Committee and went to the full House for debate.
In order to impact FES issues on a national level, Rep. Bellock sponsored HR 0113, a resolution that urged Congress to ensure that the funds associated with the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) be allocated to financial institutions that will use the funds for new single-family home mortgages or to refinance existing single-family home mortgages. This resolution was adopted on April 22, 2009 by the Illinois State House.