"Giving attorneys the right to go after businesses claiming they don't pay fair wages."
The bill passed the Senate on a 21-16 vote. According to recent Census data, Louisiana has the largest gender pay gap in the nation. New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson says this bill is about shrinking the gender pay gap, not promoting lawsuits.
"This furthers the enforcement mechanism to make sure that women are paid equally. That's all it does."
Data shows, on average, women in Louisiana are paid about two-thirds of what men are paid. Metarie Senator Conrad Appel questions the validity of those statistics.
"I dare say, I have not heard any real statistical evidence from real people that it's a problem."
The measure is expected to run into problems in the House Labor Committee, which killed two similar equal pay bills this legislative session. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says it's time for Louisiana to close this pay gap.
"To fulfill the promise that we have made that we believe in equal pay for equal work for everyone."