BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.

The equal pay proposal by New Orleans Sen. Karen Carter Peterson received the backing Wednesday of the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Supporters said Louisiana has the second largest gender pay gap in the country. Peterson said pay inequity in the state hurts the morale and welfare of Louisianians.

Opponents of the proposal include business organizations, but they did not testify Wednesday before the committee.

After the hearing, Kristi Williams, with the Louisiana Association for Business and Industry, says current laws provide adequate protection for workers from gender-based discrimination.

The bill moves to the Senate floor for consideration.

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