BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Democrats and Republicans have divided over the importance of intent when it comes to pay discrimination based on gender.

The U.S. Census Bureau data shows on average Louisiana women make about 67 cents for every $1 men make.

Louisiana  bans intentional pay discrimination, but only state government workers are protected from unintentional pay discrimination.

New Orleans Sen. Karen Peterson has a proposal to bar private employers from unintentionally paying women less than men for comparable work. Republican Rep. Julie Stokes of Kenner has a competing measure emphasizing that intentional pay discrimination is unlawful.

According to Julie Schwam Harris, of Legislative Agenda for Women, proving unintentional discrimination requires only evidence that an employer is paying employees unequally for the same work, while intentional discrimination is a tougher legal hurdle.

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