BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — For the third time in recent weeks, a House committee voted down a proposal requiring employees to be compensated equally if they do the same work, no matter their gender.

The equal pay proposal, sponsored by Sen. Ed Murray, a New Orleans Democrat, had been backed by the Senate. But Republicans on a House labor committee shot down the bill with an 8-5 vote.

Murray's bill would have prohibited a "distinction in compensation" due to an employee's gender. It outlined a course for legal action if a worker claims to be underpaid.

Supporters said Louisiana has the worst pay gap between men and women in the nation. Critics say the proposal would lead to lawsuits against employers who don't realize they are paying women less.

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