BATON ROUGE - Organizations seeking to toughen regulations on payday loans pointed to a report by the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions that shows state residents shelled out $146 million in fees and interest on the loans last year.

Supporters of a bill by Baton Rouge Rep. Ted James argued Monday that the report demonstrates that payday lenders, which offer short-term loans with high interest rates, trap people in debt.

But that didn't sway the House Commerce Committee, which voted 10-8 against James' proposal that would cap payday loans' annual interest rate at 36 percent.

Opponents of the measure say it would shut down the storefront lending industry in Louisiana.

Monday's vote doesn't end the debate. Other proposals on the House and Senate floor would add other types of restrictions to payday lending.

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