SB 153, authored by Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, would have required all Louisiana employers to pay women the same as men.

The bill, however, was undermined when it went before the Senate for final approval Wednesday thanks to an amendment by Sen. Page
 Sen. Page Cortez
Cortez, a Lafayette Republican. Instead of affording all women workers in Louisiana the right to equal pay, as the original legislation proposed, Cortez’s amendment basically dumbed the bill down to only extend that protection to women employed by the state.

His reason: Texas, which he described as “a very progressive state.” The equal pay for women law in Texas apparently only applies to state workers as well.

Cortez’s amendment reads:
[A] woman who performs public service for the state is entitled to be paid the same compensation for her service as is paid to a man who performs the same kind, grade and quality of service, and a distinction in compensation may not be made because of sex.
According to a report by Mike Hasten of The Daily Advertiser, Murray described Cortez’s amendment as weakening the bill, saying “[I]t’s the private sector where it is really needed. There’s not much difference in state government.”

The bill, with Cortez’s amendment, passed 24-11. The next step is a vote by the House of Representatives.

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