2009 -- S 0004

Enacted 03/05/09



S E N A T E  R E S O L U T I O N





     Introduced By: Senators Pichardo, Miller, Tassoni, and Jabour

     Date Introduced: January 08, 2009



     WHEREAS, Due to the recent economic crisis and rising unemployment, countless

Rhode Island families are increasingly relying on credit cards to pay for even basic monthly

expenses; and

     WHEREAS, About three-quarters of United States households have at least one credit

card, and 58% of those accounts carry a balance; and

     WHEREAS, As of 2006, the average credit card balance in the United States was nearly

$8,500; and

     WHEREAS, Nearly half of all credit card holders have missed at least one monthly

payment on their credit card, resulting in an average penalty of $28, even though the average cost

of such a missed payment to the lender is often pennies; and

     WHEREAS, Millions of Americans who are making an honest attempt to repay their

credit card debt find themselves saddled with excessively high interest rates which often make

repayment all but impossible;

     WHEREAS, Currently, the “Consumer Credit Fairness Act” introduced by Rhode Island

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is before Congress. This legislation “would offer American

consumers a measure of relief from abusive interest rates” by setting “a reasonable definition of

high interest rates…preventing lenders from instituting back-door interest rate hikes,” and

amending the Bankruptcy Code to encourage consumer lenders to keep their interest rates and

fees reasonable; and

     WHEREAS, The federal “Consumer Credit Fairness Act” will help build upon recent

acts by the Rhode Island General Assembly to protect consumers and combat predatory lending

practices; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

hereby supports the need to provide measurable relief from excessively high credit card interest

rates and give consumers fair leverage to negotiate their loans and debts to avoid bankruptcy, and

calls upon Congress to approve the “Consumer Credit Fairness Act”; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation in

the United States Congress