Gov. Edwards pushes for minimum wage hike in upcoming session, issues legislative agenda

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Local hospitality workers and advocates for better pay weigh in on the upcoming session

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WDSU) — Gov. John Bel Edwards calls for an increase in minimum wage for workers.

In his latest agenda ahead of the April 12 election, Edwards stated he will support any effort that increases the minimum wage in Louisiana. “$7.25 an hour doesn’t cut it for someone working to support themselves and their family,” said Edwards. “The legislature should pass one of the minimum wage bills, and when it gets to my desk, I will sign it.”

But the second-term governor’s pleas for a spike in wages have been unsuccessful for the last five years of the legislative session.

“The only reason we haven’t raised it is not because of my colleagues, but corporate lobbyists in the Capitol,” says State Rep. Mandie Landry. The Democrat from New Orleans says the support for a raised wage is overwhelming now, but in the past, more money has been invested into businesses and not enough into workers. In May 2020, the House voted to set aside $300 million in federal relief aid for small businesses.

“I don’t think the minimum wage was ever meant to be a living wage,” said Republican lawmaker Joseph Orgeron of Larose. “Trying to move it to a higher level will make it a living wage…it makes it harder for employers and industries to offer that opportunity of entry-level positions.”

Two Senate bills have been drafted ahead of the session, which begins April 12. Senate Bill 7, issued by Democrat Karen Carter Peterson, and Senate Bill 49 issued by Troy Carter – both candidates in the runoff for U.S. Congress.

You can read the governor’s full agenda here.

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