Senate debates payday loan limits

The state Senate tackled the politically charged issue of payday loans Wednesday night, spurning attempts to create databases and to limit borrowing.

Debate on House Bill 766 triggered a flurry of amendments as legislators made one last effort to put limits on an industry that makes thousands of small loans each year in Louisiana. Efforts were made to create a database to track the lenders’ business portfolios and to limit the number of loans that borrowers can make each year. Each effort died, although not quietly.

On a 28-10 vote, the Senate returned HB766 to the House for concurrence on minor changes. The measure would force online lenders to play by the same rules as lenders with brick-and-mortar locations in Louisiana, making them subject to state regulations.

Across Memorial Hall in the Louisiana House, legislators rejected an attempt to limit at 10 the number of pay day loans an individual can take out in a year.

State Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, proposed the addition to the proposed Louisiana Consumer Credit Law legislation.

“It’s a very modest request to try to help some of our constituents who have been trapped in the debt cycle,” said James.

But the House 51-37 voted against the change, then approved Senate Bill 241 on an 89-1 vote.