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Democratic lawmakers disappointed with restricted discussion on equal pay

Amendment to study gender pay inequality stifled in committee
May 27, 2015
Democrat Newsroom

State Reps. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati), Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) expressed disappointment with today’s House Committee on Economic Development proceedings, after the panel dismissed a Democratic proposal requiring the state to study gender pay inequality and publicly report the findings.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women on average make 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.

“It is disappointing that a majority of men and women want changes to achieve gender equality in the workplace, but Ohio’s legislature cannot seem to even have an honest debate about studying pay inequality,” said Rep. Driehaus.

The Democratic amendment was not allowed discussion and was ruled out of order for House Bill 103, a bill that creates “Ohio Womens' Week for Policy and Entrepreneurship” and establishes an “Ohio Womens' Policy and Entrepreneurship Committee.”

“Ohio cannot afford to be left behind in the national conversation about equal pay for equal work,” said Rep. Craig. “Our state’s women and families deserve policies that push us to be better and contribute to a higher quality of life in our state.”

The Democratic lawmakers’ amendment was modeled after previously introduced legislation and would require the state to:

-Determine the extent of the pay disparity between men and women in Ohio.

-Identify the causes of such disparity.

-Develop recommendations for legislative action to decrease the pay disparity between men and women in Ohio.

Pointing to a recently released United Nations report, Rep. Kent Smith was critical of the decision to stifle debate on the amendment saying, “As 59 countries have passed laws requiring equal pay for work of equal value, America lags behind on the issue of pay equity. Today, the House had a chance to make progress for women in Ohio, but Republicans didn’t even want the subject spoken about in the committee room.”

Ultimately, House Bill 103 passed the House panel unanimously. The bill’s passage comes as the Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus is holding their annual Women’s Lobby Day at the Statehouse.