US Senate Committee Hearing on Paycheck Fairness Act
The US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing yesterday on the Paycheck Fairness Act and the wage gap. The Paycheck Fairness Act was the first bill, along with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, to be passed by the current House of Representatives. If passed in the Senate and signed into law, it would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and by barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages. There are currently 36 Senate co-sponsors.
During the hearing, Committee Chaiir, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), said in his statement: "This wage gap exists in every segment of our society. Women of every race and national origin earn less than their counterparts. An African-American woman earns 69 cents for every dollar that a white male earns, while a Latino woman receives only 59 cents for every dollar a white man earns. These differences add up to real hardships for working women and their families."
He continued, "Make no mistake, the wage gap is not just a woman's issue. It is a family issue. As we will hear today, women represent half of all workers. Millions of families rely on a woman's pay-check to get by...In many families, the woman is the sole breadwinner. And, during the latest economic downturn, more men have lost jobs than women, making households even more dependent than ever on womenís earnings."
US Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-D) also testified during the hearing. She said, "As the National Committee on Pay Equity tells us, these pay disparities have a substantial long-term impact on womenís lifetime earnings, costing anywhere from $400,000 to $2 million over a lifetime. And that lack of pay equity translates into less income toward calculating pension and in some cases, Social Security benefits. It is no coincidence that 70 percent of older adults living in poverty are women."
US Senator and original co-sponsor of the bill Barbara A. Mikulski (MD-D) testified, "This bill picks up where we left off with [the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act] by improving remedies available to victims of discrimination and preventing employers from retaliating against employees who share pay information. It also closes a loophole in current law by clarifying the acceptable reasons for differences in pay and making this 'factor defense' more difficult to use. Finally, the bill increases education and training about wage discrimination so people will know when they are being discriminated against and what they can do about it."
Media Resources: Senator Harkinís Statement 3/11/10; Congresswoman DeLauroís Testimony 3/11/10; Senator Mikulskiís Statement 3/11/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/30/09
6/30/2015 Supreme Court Ruling Prevents Gerrymandering in Arizona - In a 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Ginsburg this morning, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, allowing the use of independent state commissions that draw federal congressional districts, taking that power away from the state legislature.
This gives states an opportunity to deal with partisan gerrymandering by giving an independent commission power to draw federal congressional districts.
In 2000, Arizona voters amended their constitution, shifting the responsibility of drawing congressional districts, previously held by the state legislature, to a panel called the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. . . .
6/29/2015 The Supreme Court Just Saved Texas Abortion Clinics - The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 today to put a temporary hold on a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that would have closed all but 9 of the state's abortion clinics in Texas.
The order from the Supreme Court comes in response to an emergency request filed by women's health care providers on the behalf of Texas women earlier this month asking the Court to stay House Bill 2, which would have taken effect as law on Wednesday. . . .