Governor John Bel Edwards is supporting proposals to raise the minimum wage in Louisiana and combat the opioid epidemic in the state.
Louisiana is one of only five states that have not adopted a state minimum wage. Edwards committed to working to address the issue during his run for governor and he plans to work with legislators on both sides of the isle to follow through on his commitment.
He is backing a proposal by Senator Troy Carter of New Orleans to raise the minimum to $8.50 per hour over a two year period. Edwards says it would be a "modest but meaningful increase."
The Governor also is backing proposals that would limit first-time prescriptions for opioids.
Louisiana is one of twenty states across the nation with a significant increase in opioid deaths. 2014-2015 data from the CDC show that Louisiana had a 12.4% increase in deaths resulting from opioid overdose. According to the National Prescription Audit, Louisiana is one of 13 states that have more painkiller prescriptions than it has people.
House Bill 192 authored by Rep. Helena Moreno (D-District 93) and co-authored by Rep. Kirk Talbot (R-District 78) would limit first-time prescriptions of opioids for acute pain to a seven-day supply, and all acute pain opioid prescriptions for children to seven days. The bill would not apply to prescribing for chronic pain, cancer or palliative care and would allow for individual exemptions for acute pain when medically appropriate with a note in the patient’s record indicating that a non-opioid alternative was not appropriate.