Friday, December 15, 2006

Thanks for the Reminder, Mr. Goodman

Some people have questioned both the attacks I made on David Goodman over the course of his campaign for State Senate, and the nicer things I've said since.

Well, today's Dispatch carried a nice reminder of why I worked very hard to promote his opponent's candidacy, in a story headlined "Lawmakers approve damages cap":

Before the votes, lawmakers saw a first-ever joint news release from Republican Attorney General Jim Petro and Democratic Attorney General-elect Marc Dann. It said if the bill passed, "one of the nation’s best consumer protection laws will be gutted and consumers will have little protection against unscrupulous businesses who have little incentive to comply with the weakened law."

Petro and Dann said the bill would adversely affect Ohio’s anti-predatory lending law, set to take effect in two weeks, which puts much of the home lending industry under the Consumer Sales Practices Act.

The bill says noneconomic damages, often awarded for pain, embarrassment or other suffering with no monetary value, are capped at $5,000 under the Consumer Sales Practices Act. It still allows for economic damages, which in a number of cases can be tripled by the court.

Republicans said that still leaves potentially big court damages.

"We have not gutted it," said Sen. David Goodman, R-New Albany. "We’ve done what it was originally intended to do."

I guess if Mr. Goodman and colleagues had intended to protect consumers, they would have put the word 'protection' somewhere in the title of the Consumer Sales Practices Act. The confusion is obviously on the part of the legal experts. What Mr. Goodman and colleagues apparently intended was to score political points by supporting a bill that nominally punishes predatory lenders, burnish a 'moderate' image, but not actually create any pesky responsibilities for "unscrupulous businesses who have little incentive to comply with the weakened law."

They aren't gutting a good law. They're affirming that they never intended the law to be good. As I said, thank you David, for the reminder.

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