BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Senators have rejected a proposal that could have increased the minimum wage in Louisiana, a vote that's expected to shelve the debate for the legislative session.

Without objection Thursday, the Senate Labor Committee killed the bill by Sen. Ben Nevers, a Bogalusa Democrat. The House Labor Committee earlier rejected a proposal to raise the minimum wage above the federal hourly rate of $7.25.

Under Nevers' proposal, voters in a statewide election would have decided whether to require businesses to pay at least $9.50 an hour.

Supporters say a wage increase would help the working poor in a state known for its poverty.

Business organizations opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to job losses and higher prices for goods and services.

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