May 12, 2015 05:52 PM

The Louisiana Senate has backed an equal pay proposal, with senators choosing anti-discrimination arguments over concerns about frivolous lawsuits.

With a 21-16 vote Tuesday, senators sent the measure by Sen. Ed Murray, a New Orleans Democrat, to the House for consideration.

Murray's bill says all employees shall receive the same pay "for work that is the same in kind and quality." It outlines a course for legal action if a worker is underpaid.

Supporters of the proposal point to data showing Louisiana women on average are paid 66 cents for every dollar a man earns. Critics say the measure will open new avenues for unjustified lawsuits against businesses.

Murray's bill is expected to run into problems in the House. The House labor committee killed two equal pay measures last month.

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