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first_imgEach of the bills passed with large majorities in the Assembly and the Senate. Lieu had worked on the payday loan issue last year, after a report showed the highest concentration of payday lenders in the state was in the ZIP code for Camp Pendleton. Under California law, payday lenders can charge up to 451 percent in annual interest. Customers write postdated checks to the lenders – which can be deposited up to a month later – in exchange for a lesser amount in up-front cash. Service members are susceptible because of low pay, especially for younger enlistees. Lieu said they deserve lower rates than the general public because they represent good risks for lenders. Unlike ordinary civilians, they cannot leave their bases and can be court-martialed for not paying their debts. “They’re basically the perfect targets for these lenders,” Lieu said. Lieu’s bill to cut the interest rate for service members to 36percent failed to get out of the state Senate last year. But last fall, Congress passed a law capping the rate at 36 percent nationwide, and President Bush signed it. This year, Lieu’s bill codifies that cap in state law and allows the state Department of Corporations to investigate potential violations. Lieu said the federal law left enforcement to the Department of Defense and the FBI, which are already overburdened with other responsibilities. The other bill affecting payday lenders cracks down on brochures offering “Navy loans” or “military loans,” even though the lenders are private companies with no military affiliation. The bill also affects insurance policies and other financial products. [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityOne caps interest rates for loans to service members at 36 percent – matching a federal limit – and empowers a state agency to enforce the law. Another bars companies, including payday lenders, from claiming to be affiliated with the armed services in marketing to service members. The third bill grants up to 10 days of paid leave to military spouses when their husband or wife returns from duty. “You need decompression time,” the South Bay Democrat said. “A lot of times when a member comes back, there are all sorts of things that change. There are very basic errands you have to run to put your life back together.” New York has a similar bill, and Lieu said he hoped other states with large military populations would follow suit. By Gene Maddaus STAFF WRITER Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed three bills by Torrance-area Assemblyman Ted Lieu on Tuesday, extending paid leave and consumer protections for military families. Two of the bills address payday lenders, which proliferate around military bases such as Camp Pendleton near Oceanside. last_img read more