BLOOMINGTON — The Illinois House is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of legislation to create the Student Loan Bill of Rights.
The Illinois Senate voted 37-19 to override on Oct. 25. Thirty-six votes were needed to override.
However, 71 votes are needed for an override in the House, which originally approved Senate Bill 1351 by a 63-48 vote. All Pantagraph area lawmakers voted against the bill.
However, state Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, is reconsidering his vote.
Brady said he is still concerned about the cost of having the state license loan service providers, which he was told could be $300,000 to $400,000 annually.
But indications that the federal government might be backing away from policing the loans has him "keeping an open mind" about "how best we are going to protect student borrowers."
State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston, a Democratic candidate for governor, and state Rep. Will Guzzardi, a Chicago Democrat, sponsored the bill drafted by the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt nationally. More than 44 million borrowers owe more than $1.4 trillion, according to Madigan.
Earlier this year, Madigan sued Navient, among the larger student loan servicers, accusing it of deceptive collection practices and failure to offer proper repayment options.
The bill would require student loan servicers to provide borrowers with clear information about all options for repayment. It also would create a student loan ombudsman in the attorney general's office and require student loan servicers to be licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
In his veto message, Rauner said the intent of the bill was “laudable,” but said it “encroaches on the federal government's responsibilities and would add confusion to the already complex student loan process.”
Madigan dismissed the argument that the bill encroaches on the federal government, saying Monday, “they're doing nothing. … It's kind of been the Wild West.”
Reforms that had been instituted during the Obama administration were removed by the Trump administration, she said, “putting their corporate profit ahead of student borrowers.”
She compared the student loan default situation to the mortgage loan crisis.
Just as the number of complaints about mortgages was going on, her office saw an increase in complaints about student loan servicers, she said.
Also, as happened during the mortgage crisis, Madigan said the borrowers are falling prey to “scam artists” who offer to help them reduce their debt but collect fees while doing little or nothing to help.
Rauner said in his veto message that “students should not be defrauded — purposely or through incompetence — by their loan servicer.” He called for a more narrowly tailored bill.
The attorney general's office has about five people cross-trained in several areas, including helping people who have complaints about student loan servicers, according to Madigan. She said they will continue doing that work even if Rauner's veto stands.
However, passage of the bill would make the loan ombudsman a statutory part of the office even after the departure of Madigan, who is not running for re-election.