State lawmakers have for a third year in a row rejected an attempt to increase the minimum wage in Louisiana.Why not at least put forward a bill that guarantees a living wage so at least the voters can see that you are actually advocating on their behalf. The reactionaries are going to vote against it anyway. Make them vote against something people might really want. It's better politics and better policy.
The Senate, in a 17-21 vote Tuesday evening, rejected Senate Bill 162, which would have gradually increased the minimum wage in Louisiana to $8.50 in 2020. It's currently set at the federal rate of $7.25 an hour.
"What I'm asking for today is a very modest increase -- $1.25 over two years," said Sen. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, in presenting his bill. "We are all Louisianans, and there is not a single one of us in this chamber -- not one -- that doesn't have people in our district that would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage."
They also voted against equal pay bills today.
The state Senate also has again rejected legislation meant to address pay disparities between men and women.That's bad. But it's probably not as hopeless as the minimum wage situation is. The political momentum for equal pay legislation is on the come in part because every time a vote like this happens, it's clear that the No votes are denying people an obvious good. It's going to be easier to pass this eventually because these are the kinds of losses you can campaign on.
The Senate voted 18-20 against Senate Bill 117, which would require any company that contracts with the state to comply with the Equal Pay Law that currently applies to state workers.
The chamber then quickly voted down a separate bill also aimed at equitable pay that would have protected employees from being fired just because they discuss pay. That vote was 15-23.
"Look what we are trying to do for you if you vote a few more of us in" is a better ad if the thing you're offering is basic fairness than it is if you are offering a token $1.25.