Republican state lawmakers are asking for changes in how the Rent-to-Own industry is regulated in Wisconsin, which a Democratic lawmaker argues would allow a predatory business model to greatly expand in the state.

The bill from state Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) and Representative Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) would stop regulating the industry under the Wisconsin Consumer Act, setting up a system they say is used by most other states. While rent-to-own stores would still have to disclose the cash price of the item and the total number of payments needed to own it, they would not have to show the interest rate consumers are paying—which is currently required in Wisconsin.

In their co-sponsorship memo, Moulton and Petryk say the industry serves a distinct population of consumers, who may not otherwise be able to afford household items like a washer and dryer. Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) argues it’s an industry that thrives on people with poor financial literacy. 

Hintz says not having to show interest rates is a big change, and it’s something rent-to-own advocates have previously said is keeping the industry from expanding in Wisconsin.

Read the full article from the Wisconsin Radio Network.