Hazard pay for essential workers bill heads to Louisiana House floor 

    Grocery store employees, nurses, bus drivers and other front-line workers who stayed on their jobs in the early days of Louisiana’s coronavirus outbreak could receive a one-time $250 state payment, under a bill that started advancing Wednesday in the state House.

    Democratic lawmakers are pushing the hazard pay proposal — paid out of $50 million in federal virus aid from Congress — in an ongoing special session focused largely on business recovery from the pandemic. They’re trying to broker a deal with Republicans who need some Democratic support to pass certain business tax breaks and other pro-business measures.

    The Ways and Means Committee sent the $250 hazard pay bill by House Democratic leader Sam Jenkins of Shreveport to the full House for debate without objection Wednesday, in a bipartisan show of support.

    “This committee has gone above and beyond to support our big business and our small businesses,” said Rep. Matthew Willard, a New Orleans Democrat. “We have yet to do anything for the working people of Louisiana. While some had the luxury of staying home and protecting their health and safety, others … did not have that choice.”

    Jenkins said the state should offer aid to grocery store workers, nurses, janitors, nursing home employees, bus drivers, EMS workers, fire and rescue employees, sanitation workers and others who risked their health to keep businesses operating during Louisiana’s stay-at-home order.

    “We do believe that these funds will immediately go back into our local economies. We think it will be a stimulus,” Jenkins said. “We feel like this is an immediate investment into our economy.” Read the full story. 

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