BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers in the Louisiana House have handed Gov. John Bel Edwards a significant defeat for his legislative agenda, rejecting an equal pay bill that was a cornerstone of Edwards' campaign for governor.

The Senate had backed the measure requiring private businesses to pay the same wages to men and women who perform the same work. But the House labor committee voted 10-5 against advancing Sen. J.P. Morrell's (D-New Orleans) bill to the full House for debate.

Bill supporters cited statistics showing that women in Louisiana consistently earn less, across occupations. The proposal would apply an equal pay law governing state workers to private industry, outlining how to file discrimination complaints and, possibly, lawsuits.

Opponents, including the state's largest business lobbying groups, said the measure would encourage frivolous lawsuits.

Here's how lawmakers voted on the bill:

VOTING FOR THE BILL: Reps. Patrick Jefferson, D-Homer; Kenny Cox, D-Natchitoches; Ted James, D-Baton Rouge; Vincent Pierre, D-Lafayette; and Edward Price, D-Gonzales.

VOTING AGAINST THE BILL: Reps. 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; and Scott Simon, R-Abita Springs.

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Senate Bill 254: www.legis.la.gov

 

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