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Louisiana Senate Committee approves bill to raise minimum wage to $14 per hour by 2028

A bill proposing an increase in Louisiana's minimum wage to $14 per hour by 2028 has been approved by the Labor & Industrial Relations Committee of the Louisiana State Senate. Sponsored by State Senator Gary Carter, SB149 received a 3-2 vote in favor of the proposed increase. The bill calls for a gradual increase in minimum wage, starting with $10 an hour from January 1, 2024, $12 an hour from January 1, 2026, and $14 an hour from January 1, 2028.

This proposed increase in the minimum wage is part of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards' legislative package. In response to the committee's decision, Edwards expressed gratitude and emphasized the urgency of the matter. "It is embarrassing and immoral that our minimum wage is still the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour in 2023. I urge the full Senate to pass this bill," said Edwards.

Despite this, a companion bill in the Louisiana House failed to make it out of committee. The National Federation of Independent Business opposed SB149, describing it as an ill-conceived, harmful, and unnecessary bill. The organization argued that small business owners are already paying more than the federal minimum wage to attract and retain the best candidates. If the state minimum wage is increased to $10 an hour, employers will be forced to make difficult decisions to balance higher wages with rising costs. This could mean cutting positions or reducing hours, which would ultimately harm the very people the supporters of the bill seek to help.

SB149 will now be debated by the full Senate. This increase in the minimum wage could benefit many Louisiana residents, giving them a fairer wage and potentially lifting them out of poverty. However, the bill's opponents have warned of potential negative consequences, making the debate over the bill's passage all the more important.

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