The state House of Representatives approved Monday what is being described as a watered-down law that would guarantee equal pay for women who work in state government.

The original version of Senate Bill 153 would have given the same protections to women working in the private sector. But opponents of the bill feared that it could spark widespread litigation.

In a compromise, the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Ed Murray, last month agreed to a version of the Equal Pay for Women Act that would only make equal pay the responsibility of state agencies.

Murray, D-New Orleans, has argued Louisiana ranks 49th in the U.S. when it comes to equal pay for women. Only Wyoming is worse, he’s said.

On Monday, state Rep. Kenny Cox, D-Natchitoches, said SB153 would be a “step forward” for the state. State Rep. Jared Brossett, D-New Orleans, argued along the same lines.

“For a more perfect union for the state of Louisiana, and the country as a whole ... let’s move Louisiana forward,” Brossett said.

SB153 passed the House on an 86-12 vote.