The Debate of Bills
On Friday, the Senate and House of Representatives were introduced to the Finance Committee, one of the many committees who debated today. The members of the committee, Jessica Monson, Emily LaGrone, and Brooke Richards, were the three girls— among the 3 to 4 representatives and two senators — who argued for a statewide minimum wage increase to $9.25. They explained how a gradual increase of $0.50 will be applied every six months until the total of $9.25 is reached. After the opening statement, the remaining 32 senators and representatives discussed the bill and asked questions. The debate included how the bill would affect small businesses, as well as if the legislation would account for the rising prices of goods. The President of the Senate, Isabella Geiger, who sits at the head of the room, then allowed time for anyone opposed to the bill to debate. Some members stated jobs done for minimum wage should stay at $7.25, while others argued that the price of $9.25 should be increased.
Once the timer went off to indicate that discussion was done, the committee presented their closing statement. The Committee of Finance stated their belief in fair living and wish to decrease poverty in the state of Louisiana because, according to United States Census Bureau data, Louisiana is the second most impoverished state in the country. The committee then returned to their seats and the voting process began. Every representative and senator put their heads on the desks and raised their hands for or against the bill. All in all, there were 25 votes in favor of the bill, 9 votes against the bill, and 5 abstentions. The bill was passed.