Legislative Session

Jun 4, 2013 7:57 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Equal Pay, State Employees Only

A bill guaranteeing equal pay for women is now awaiting the Governor's signature.

The goal of Senate bill 153 was to make sure all employees would get equal pay, no matter their gender.

However, an amendment added to that bill narrowed the focus to only state employees.

Lafayette Senator Page Cortez is the one who made that change. That amended bill is what passed in the senate today, and is now one step closer to becoming law.

But questions have been raised on why private companies should be exempt from giving equal pay to both men and women...

Senator Cortez says that the original bill--establishing equal pay for all men and women in the state--did not have enough support to pass.....And in fact did not pass the senate on May 15th. Although his amendment changed the original bill, he says it does not water it down, and that it helps in several ways.

Making equal pay apply to all state employees is a big step because as of now equal pay does not apply to non-classified state employees. This amendment changes that, and he says without this amendment the entire bill would have never made it out of the legislature.

"It was adamantly opposed by businesses because it would have created a class for a person to sue their employer after they had agreed upon wages on the suspicious someone else of an opposite sex was getting paid more. So it failed," Republican Senator Page Cortez said.

"The way it turned out I think it only applied to female workers, but like I said we've never been able to pass this bill before so any baby step we can take is a good step," Republican Representative (Lafayette) Nancy Landry said.

"If we can do it for state workers, I think that's definitely a big step in the right direction for women," Democrat Representative Stephen Ortego said.

The legislation passed unanimously, and now awaits Governor Bobby Jindal for final approval.



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