The times they are changin'.

One of the Legislature's most ardent pro free-enterprise advocates has introduced a bill that would place a cap of 15 percent on the interest rate that could be charged on any unpaid credit balances."I have no illusions it will pass this session. I'm sure the banking lobby will see to that," said Rep. Evan Olsen, R-Young Ward. "But it would be a major victory for consumers if we can get it to an interim study committee and bring it back next year."

Olsen is upset at the "arbitrary" rate of 18 percent that banks, credit card companies and even businesses who extend credit are charging. "It is nothing more than to whip people into prompt payment. It's not a rate set by free enterprise."

Six years ago the Legislature removed limitations on interest rates with the belief that the free-enterprise system would result in lower interest rates and the market rates lowered. But in six years, the rate has stayed at 18 percent.

The maximum interest rate that could be charged under Olsen's bill would be 15 percent.