- Associated Press - Friday, March 17, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico lawmakers have passed a proposal capping the amount of interest and fees charged by the payday loan industry in one of the nation’s poorest states.

The House voted earlier Saturday to set new limits on small loans, including a 175 percent cap on interest rates in New Mexico.

The Senate vote late Friday came after an emotional debate by conflicted senators who live in poor districts and who wanted rates capped at 36 percent.

Sen. Clemente Sanchez, a Grants Democrat and the bill’s sponsor, said the debate over payday loans wasn’t over, but his proposal was a start.

However, Sen. Craig Brandt, a Rio Rancho Republican, said limiting payday loans interest rates was “limiting freedom.”

The amended bill heads back to the House for final approval.

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