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Louisiana equal pay bill to be debated this year

April 04, 2019 - 8:02 pm

(WWL.com) - Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton has a bill that would enforce pay equality between men and women in Louisiana’s private sector. Currently only public sector employers must pay women the same as men for equal work. According to a report Louisiana ranks 48th in pay equality, and Norton says something must be done.

“We think about our moms, our sisters, our daughters, and we think about they are being held back on doing a great job and being qualified, but they are still not being paid for their work.”

The report, presented by former state Representative and current New Orleans Councilwoman Helena Moreno, shows women make 69 percent of what white men make in Louisiana.

Similar versions of equal pay legislation have been filed for years in the legislature, but every time they’ve failed to get traction. Opponents argue it would place an undue burden on business, and open companies up to expensive litigation. Norton says get over it.

“That is not an excuse to hold women back, when they can do the same jobs, have same credentials, and the same qualifications, but at the bottom line they are not given the same fair rights and opportunities.”

The report also detailed how African American women are particularly impacted by the pay disparity, earning 47 cents on the dollars for every buck a white man makes. Norton says this bill is aimed at improving quality of life for all women.

“It’s not just African American women, but all women. We are already doing a great job, but we’re just doing it behind the curb, and I think it is time for women to be able to receive that dollar.”

The bill will be brought up in the session that begins Monday.

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