BATON ROUGE – A bill to hike Louisiana's minimum wage advanced in a Senate Committee on Wednesday at the State Capitol.

Senate Bill 153 by Sen. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, drew a favorable response in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee approved a measure which would raise the minimum wage from $8.00 an hour in 2018 and to $8.50 by 2019.

The current minimum wage in Louisiana is $7.50 per hour.

The bill will head to the full Senate for debate.

Gov. John Bel Edwards committed to working to address this issue during his run for governor. He said he plans to work with legislators on both sides of the isle to follow through on that commitment.

“Nearly half of working families in Louisiana struggle to cover basic monthly expenses, so I am pleased to see that the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee advanced an opportunity to establish a modest, but meaningful increase to the minimum wage in our state today,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a written statement. “SB 153 is a reasonable measure to remedy the fact that it has been nearly a decade since that last minimum wage increase in Louisiana, despite the rising cost of living over that time. If we say that family values are critical to our way of life here in Louisiana, it’s time to start valuing the hard-working families who contribute a great deal to our communities.”

Louisiana is one of only five states that have not adopted a state minimum wage. Forty percent of Louisiana working families do not earn enough to cover basic monthly expenses.

The 2016 Louisiana Survey found that 76 percent of Louisiana residents support raising the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour.

Senate Bill 153, authored by Sen. Carter, would provide for a modest but meaningful increase to the minimum wage – up to $8.50 over a two-year period, Gov. Edwards said.

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