17:30 LRN Newscast, March 31, 2016

Bills to increase the minimum wage and demand equal pay for men and women were approved by the Senate Labor Committee today. Governor John Bel Edwards was on hand to testify in favor of both measures. He says a higher minimum wage could help solve the child poverty problem in Louisiana.

Cut 10 (08) “and raising”

Baton Rouge business owner Mark Johnson opposes the increase because he says it would impact small businesses production costs.

Cut 11 (09) “bottom line”

On a 4-3 vote the committee approved the minimum wage increase to $8.00 an hour beginning next year. And a 5-2 vote from the panel passed the bill seeking equal pay for women. Both bills head to the Senate floor.

A bill to allow hunters to wear blaze pink in addition to hunter’s orange passes out of the House. Author of the legislation Bogalusa Rep. Malinda White says all this does is give another option that has been proven to be safer. White says the blaze pink attire would be simple and without embellishment to meet the 400 square inches of color requirement. She says pink will stand out in the woods.

CUT 4 (08)  “and yellows”

White says men can wear blazing pink too.

Several tax increases will go into effect tomorrow in Louisiana, including a one-cent increase on the state sales tax.  LSU Marketing Professor Dr. Dan Rice says this likely won’t change consumer’s purchasing habits.

Cut 23 (10)  “quite frankly”

The tax on a pack of cigarettes will increase by 22-cents, and taxes on all types of alcohol will also go up.