BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - A House Committee stopped a key piece of Gov. John Bel Edward's campaign platform before it could reach The House for debate.
Louisiana's House Labor Committee rejected a senate-approved bill that would require private businesses to pay the same wages to men and women performing the same work.
Senate Bill 254, also known as the equal pay bill, was backed by The Senate, but the House Labor Committee voted 10-5 to halt the bill before it could reach the House.
According to a release from Gov. Edwards, on average, women earn 65 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make in Louisiana. African American women only 49 cents on the dollar by the same comparison.
"The pay gap in Louisiana is the worst in the entire country, and we can do better, not just for my wife and daughters, but for women all across the state," Edwards said. "This disparity prevents our wives, daughters, sisters, and other women from earning equal pay for equal work, and that directly impacts children and families who many in the legislative body espouse they value. Actions speak louder than words, and the time has come to stop talking about family values and start making decisions that actually value families."
A statewide poll conducted in March 2016 indicated that 90 percent of Louisianans support passing equal pay legislation.
"Very few issues have the support of 90 percent of Louisiana, but the support for legislation granting equal pay for equal work crosses the political spectrum," Edwards said. "The failure of the House Labor Committee to pass the Equal Pay Act today is a true disservice to the women of our state."
The legislature, proposed by New Orleans Senator J.P. Morrell, would have applied an equal pay law to private industry in Louisiana and outline how to file discrimination complaints.
The bills opponents claim the measure would encourage frivolous lawsuits.
The 10-5 vote broke down like this:
VOTING FOR THE BILL
Rep. Patrick Jefferson, D-Homer
Kenny Cox, D-Natchitoches
Ted James, D-Baton Rouge
Vincent Pierre, D-Lafayette
Edward Price, D-Gonzales
VOTING AGAINST THE BILL:
Rep. Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond
Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall
Gregory Cromer, R-Slidell
Reid Falconer, R-Mandeville
Dodie Horton, R-Haughton
Marcus Hunter, D-Monroe
Jack McFarland, R-Jonesboro
Blake Miguez, R-Erath
Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport
Scott Simon, R-Abita Springs