Title loan bill gets new life

ATLANTA - The Senate made a last-ditch effort on Tuesday to enact legislation that would put new restrictions on Georgia's title loan industry.

Senators voted 47-4 to approve a House bill that a Senate committee had completely stripped of its original provisions. That was possible under legislative rules because a title loan bill the Senate passed four weeks ago deals with the same portion of the state's legal code.

"We passed bipartisan legislation earlier with lots of recommendations from consumer groups,'' said Sen. Bill Hamrick, R-Carrollton, the original bill's sponsor. "But the House has done nothing with our bill.''

The legislation would require title loan companies to give customers written notice before repossessing their cars for missing loan payments. It also would allow customers 20 days to pay up and get their cars back before they could be sold.

Any money that lenders recover from selling repossessed cars above and beyond what the customer owes would have to be refunded.

The bill approved Tuesday now goes back to the House.