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Ortt receives pair of awards

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Thu, Oct 25th 2018 09:05 am
New York State Sen. Rob Ortt was awarded the Guardian of Civil Justice Award by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York for his role in sponsoring legislation that would reform the state's lawsuit lending landscape.
Ortt is the sponsor of Senate Bill 3911A, which would reform New York's lucrative lawsuit lending industry. Currently, the practice of lawsuit lending is unregulated, which Ortt's team said "has led to horror stories involving shady business practices. The absence of any regulation regarding personal lawsuit loans has created instances where interest rates reached upwards of 124 percent. This rate is nearly five time the limit set by New York state for criminal lawsuits."
Ortt said, "New York state already has a reputation as one of the most litigious states in the country. By encouraging lawsuits with these questionable funding practices, lawsuit lenders are creating further congestion in our state's courtrooms for their own personal gain. While there are certain situations where the lending of these loans is necessary, in many cases the consumer ends up being taken advantage of by the lender. This legislation is aimed directly at addressing that."
Ortt's legislation would see the interest of lawsuit loans capped at 18 percent, while outlining interest guidelines in an effort to protect consumers entering loan agreements.
"This industry shouldn't be exempt from oversight or consumer protection," Ortt said. "This isn't the Wild West. As legislators, we have a duty to step in and protect residents when they are being taken advantage of. We must find a balance between allowing an industry to operate freely, while also placing just enough regulation on it to protect consumers who may be in a vulnerable situation."
He continued, "I want to thank the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York for awarding me this year's Guardian of Civil Justice Award, and I look forward to continuing our work to get this legislation passed through the Legislature and to the governor."
This year, Senate Bill 3911A passed the Senate; however, Democrats in the Assembly did not act upon it.
•Ortt also was awarded the National Federation of Independent Businesses' Guardian Award for his work as a senator in the New York Legislature. The NFIB represents more than 10,000 small and independent business members across New York, and is the nation's leading small business advocacy organization.
The Guardian Award is the highest honor the NFIB bestows upon legislators. Ortt's selection for this award "represents his strong belief in protecting New York state's small businesses."
Ortt's team said, "Over the last two years, Gov. Cuomo has waged an all-out assault on New York's small businesses, increasing the minimum wage to a staggering $15 per hour, while creating a statewide paid family leave program that will cost millions."
Ortt said, "Due to the overbearing and excessive business regulations implemented by Gov. Cuomo and his regressive New York City allies, New York has become one of the most difficult places in the country to run a business. While Democrats in our state see our business owners as the enemy, I understand that small businesses are the economic drivers in communities across our state, and, without them, New York's economic future is bleak.
"I thank the NFIB for its advocacy on behalf of thousands of New Yorkers and look forward to continuing my work with them in the future."
NFIB's goal is to give small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business through direct involvement with state and federal lawmakers. The federation's unique member-only ballot system allows for a more direct role in supporting America's free enterprise system.
"Time after time, Sen. Ortt has been there for the independent businesses and job creators of Western New York - fighting for lower taxes, common-sense regulatory reform and fiscal discipline in Albany," said Greg Biryla, NFIB's New York state director. "A lot of lawmakers like to say they support small business, but actions speak louder than words, and Sen. Ortt's actions speak louder than most. His perfect voting record on small business issues this past legislative session is just the latest demonstration that Sen. Ortt is one of Main Street's best friends in the Capitol."

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