A bill that would have imposed restrictions on Louisiana's short-term lending industry was killed in the House Commerce Committee on April 7. House Bill 239, introduced by Rep. Ted James (R-Baton Rouge), would have limited payday loan interest and fees relative to the amount of the loan.
However, the committee recently passed House Bill 766, introduced by Chairman Erich Ponti (R-Baton Rouge), which would limit interest incurred when payday loan borrowers miss payments and set criteria for extended payment plans. Consumer advocates do not think Ponti's bill goes far enough to protect families from long-term debt.
Debate has centered on whether the government should protect consumers from payday lenders or whether they should be responsible for their own financial decisions. Lawmakers also pointed out that there is an abundance of lobby interference on the issue.