Capitol Views: One final swing from administration on minimum wage

    The Edwards Administration is running out of time to enact a higher minimum wage, which has been a top focus for the governor since he was a state representative and throughout his current term.

    While there has been nothing but failed attempts left in Gov. John Bel Edwards’ policy wake over the past three years, the Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations did advance a proposed constitutional amendment today that would allow voters, rather than elected officials, to decide on the issue.

    Edwards was expected to speak in favor of SB 155 by Democratic Sen. Troy Carter of New Orleans, which would institute a $9 wage next summer, but he was called away to inspect storm damage in the Lincoln Parish area. His wife, Donna, however, did make an appearance to show support for Carter’s constitutional amendment.

    Similar legislation has made it out of the Senate labor committee in recent years, but the concept has always failed to gain support elsewhere in the process. The difference this time, according to the author of the legislation, is that voters would play a key role.

    “Let the people of Louisiana weigh in,” Carter told his colleagues.

    Ochsner CEO Warner Thomas testified in favor of the proposal, while opposing arguments were presented by representatives from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business.

    The panel voted 5-1 to send the bill to the Senate floor, where a two-thirds vote will be required for passage. The lone nay vote came from Shreveport Sen. Barrow Peacock, a Republican.

    Jeremy Alford will publish Capitol Views each afternoon on Daily Report PM through the end of the legislative session. The report is also available to subscribers at LaPolitics.com.  

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