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DFLers blast House bill eliminating equal pay provision

Rep. Terry Morrow
Rep. Terry Morrow

Terry Morrow’s voice shook. He’s a lawyer and associate professor of communication studies at Gustavus Adolphus College, but he needed notes to gather his thoughts.

The usually informal DFL House member from St. Peter apologized for such formality, but, he said, “It really gets to me when I see a bill so devastatingly detrimental to my daughters.”

Morrow was one of a group of DFL lawmakers who called a news conference this morning to oppose a provision in GOP-sponsored House File 7.

HF 7, introduced by 17 GOPers, is intended to remove a collection of local government mandates.

But among the mandates that would be removed is the 1984 Local Government Pay Equity Act, which mandates that governments pay women equally to men in public employment.

As a result, women public employees make about 95 percent of the pay that their males counterparts make; that compares with a gap of 76 percent for women in the private sector, according to the DFL representatives at today’s news conference. House DFL members expressed concern that there would be a rollback in women’s pay if this mandate were removed.

Morrow, his voice quivering, was the most emotional about it.

He said when he first ran for the House five years ago, he was asked if he was running as a Democrat or Republican.

“I’m running as a dad,” the father of 14-year-old and 17-year daughters told voters.

Today, he added: “I am deeply disturbed that House File 7 sends a threatening message about Minnesota’s commitment to equal pay ... Bills send messages and, as a dad, I reject the misguided message that equal pay is no longer a right in Minnesota. ... Look around this room, look around this Capitol and look around this state. My daughters and my wife, all women, are equal contributors, and they deserve equal pay for equal work.”

While members of both parties have been seeking to eliminate mandates on local governments, Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, said, “This is a mandate worth hanging on to.”

The bill is still in its first committee, Government Operations and Elections.

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Comments (5)

This is a typical Repub/Tea Party mentality: "It's okay if women in state government jobs get equal pay, but if you work in local government, you don't deserve the same thing."

If Repub/Tea Party women actually vote for something like this, it sends a clear message to all those women voters who seem to think they are doing something positive for women, and it cements their ideological viewpoint that other women aren't equal.

Oh goody! Does this mean Senators Koch and Fischbach will all be taking pay cuts?? I mean if you can force women who work for the state and for cities and counties to take paycuts I would think that they would want to set a good example and lead the way!

Re: "My daughters and my wife, all women, are equal contributors, and they deserve equal pay for equal work.”

Besides being happy to know that your wife and daughters are women, I believe it would help them if they were aware of this:

No legislation yet has closed the gender wage gap — not the 1963 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, not Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, not the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, not the 1991 amendments to Title VII, not affirmative action, not diversity, not the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, not the countless state and local laws and regulations, not the horde of overseers at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission..... Nor would the Paycheck Fairness Act have worked.

None of the legislation pushed by pay-equity advocates works because the advocates continue to overlook the effects of this female and male behavior:

Despite the 40-year-old demand for women's equal pay, millions of wives still choose to have no pay at all. In fact, according to Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of "The Secrets of Happily Married Women," stay-at-home wives, including the childless who represent an estimated 10 percent, constitute a growing niche. "In the past few years,” he says in a CNN August 2008 report at http://tinyurl.com/6reowj, “many women who are well educated and trained for career tracks have decided instead to stay at home.” (“Census Bureau data show that 5.6 million mothers stayed home with their children in 2005, about 1.2 million more than did so a decade earlier....” at http://tinyurl.com/qqkaka. This may or may not reflect a higher percentage of women staying at home than in the previous decade. But if the percentage is higher, perhaps it's because feminists and the media have told women for years that female workers are paid less than men in the same jobs, and so why bother working if they're going to be penalized and humiliated for being a woman.)

As full-time mothers or homemakers, stay-at-home wives earn zero. How can they afford to do this while in many cases living in luxury? Because they're supported by their husband.

If millions of wives can accept no wages and live as well as their husbands, millions of other wives can accept low wages, refuse overtime and promotions, take more unpaid days off, avoid uncomfortable wage-bargaining (http://tinyurl.com/23qycq) — all of which lower women's average pay. They can do this because they are supported by a husband who must earn more than if he'd remained single — which is how MEN help create the wage gap. (If the roles were reversed so that men raised the children and women raised the income, men would average lower pay than women.)

See “A Response to the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act” at http://tinyurl.com/pvbrcu

By the way, the next Equal Occupational Fatality Day is in 2020. The year 2020 is how far into the future women will have to work to experience the same number of work-related deaths that men experienced in 2009 alone.

Lord, please let GOPers loudly defend their desire to repeal fair pay laws, and please let Jerry Boggs repeat that tripe above as often as he can. Amen.

Who's responsible for putting this language into this bill? He should be publically shamed.