A bill that would expand the "Equal Pay for Women Act" to include men and also apply to the law to private sector employers passed in Senate Committee today.

SB 334 is by Democratic New Orleans Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, who said paying unequal wages based on sex is unjust and discriminates against the person receiving the lesser rate.

Louisiana has the second largest wage gap in the U.S. Why is that fair?

"It also leads to lesser morale and threatens the well being of our citizens of this state," Peterson said.

Peterson said there are certain exceptions to her measure when it comes to seniority or merit-based pay systems.

She said in 2010, Louisiana ranked 46th in the nation for lowest paid women.

"And I know we've become immune to these numbers because we're always 46th, 47th and 48th," Peterson said. "But at some point, don't you think we should wake up and try to attain number 1, 2, 3...so we can be proud of our wives, our mothers our grandmothers and our daughters?"

Legislation that would require state employees to pay women the same as men passed last year, but this bill would cover private employers as well.

Peterson said in 2013, Louisiana women earned 67 cents for every $1 earned by a man who does the exact same work.

"It's not fair," Peterson said. "Louisiana has the second largest wage gap in the U.S. Why is that fair?"

The legislation passed out of the Senate Governmental Affairs committee unanimously Wednesday and now heads to the Senate Floor for debate.