BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Governor John Bel Edwards plans to propose legislation for the 2017 Regular Session that he says will advance family values.
"We often say that we value Louisiana families, but the lack of state policies that ensure families are supported in meaningful ways suggests otherwise," Gov. Edwards said.
His four main topics include equal pay for equal work, a modest increase in minimum wage, extending the children's cabinet and tackling the opioid epidemic.
The governor says Louisiana has the highest gender wage gap in the country, with the average Louisiana woman making only $0.66 for every $1 a man makes.
House Bill 222 authored by Rep. Helena Moreno (D-District 93) would promote pay transparency by prohibiting employers from taking actions against employees for inquiring about, discussing or disclosing their wages or those of other employees.
Governor Edwards also said Louisiana is one of only five states that have not adopted a state minimum wage.
Senate Bill 153 authored by Sen. Troy Carter (D-District 7) would provide for a modest, but meaningful increase to the minimum wage – up to $8.50 over a two year period.
The Children's Cabinet is another focus for the governor. While the cabinet works on several issues at once, the state says members are working on improving public-private partnerships, leveraging resources and tapping federal, state and local resources to eliminate child hunger.
Senate Bill 66 authored by Sen. Regina Barrow (D-District 15) would extend the sunset of the Children's Cabinet to August 15, 2022 and expand the duties of the Children's Cabinet Advisory Board to focus on child poverty prevention initiatives.
Governor Edwards' plans to try to deal with the opioid epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Louisiana is one of 20 states that saw a significant increase in opioid deaths.
House Bill 192 authored by Rep. Helena Moreno (D-District 93) and co-authored by Rep. Kirk Talbot (R-District 78) would limit first-time prescriptions of opioids for acute pain to a seven-day supply, and all acute pain opioid prescriptions for children to seven days.
"If we want our families to do better, then we must do better by them. That is why I am proposing legislation that will help eliminate the wage gap by ending pay secrecy, raise the minimum wage in a realistic way and address opioid abuse in our state. When our families thrive our state thrives," Governor Edwards said.
The 2017 regular legislative session begins on April 10 and ends June 8.