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We've collected a stories about the 2015 Louisiana Legislative Session. What new bill is coming up for a vote? How are lawmakers doing in protecting higher education and health care from cuts? What other initiatives are in the works for Louisiana? Find them here.

Minimum Wage Increase, Pay Secrecy, And Equal Pay For Women Legislation All Die In Senate

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Minimum wage increase, pay secrecy, and equal pay for women legislation all died on the Senate floor last night. The bills were a major part of Governor John Bel Edwards agenda. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell’s equal pay for women bill died 20-18. He says the best and brightest women in Louisiana are flocking to states that won’t pay them less for the same work a man does.

 

Morrell says, "California has the sixth highest economy in the world, and they have some of the most stringent equal pay legislation in the world." 

 

The bill, which would have required contractors who work with the state to pay women the same as men in the same position, was defeated 20-18.

 

The Democrat went after his fellow legislators, accusing them of favoring businesses owners over workers. He says businesses keep wages low by preventing employees from discussing pay, while simultaneously being allowed to ask employees how much they used to be paid at other jobs.

 

Morrell says, "If you think you're paying Sue an appropriate amount, and she's not going to do better elsewhere, what does it matter if she doesn't know that she's getting paid less than Jim? It matters when you're paying people not what they can make somewhere else." 

 

The pay secrecy bill would have prevented employers from retaliating against workers who chose to discuss pay with each other. The bill died 23-15.

 

A minimum wage hike was also struck down. The bill would have increased the minimum wage to 8.50 by 2020. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter says raising the minimum wage would have rewarded those who chose to work instead of living off of government assistance.

 

Carter says, "These are people who say, 'I don't want your welfare. I want to work for my money. I want to feel good about myself.'"

 

The wage hike was defeated 21-17.