A Bucks County state lawmaker is championing a new study of Pennsylvania s wage fairness laws, and whether state officials have the training and resources to aggressively enforce them.
Rep. Kathy Watson saw her resolution commissioning the study by the Joint State Government Commission pass through the House Labor Relations Committee today on a 22-1 vote.
Only Rep. John McGinnis, R-Blair County, voted no.
Watson, at a separate rally at the Capitol Tuesday, noted that according to 2012 Census Bureau data, the median salary in Pennsylvania for women employed full-time is ,414 or 76 percent of the ,330 for full-time male workers.
Sadly, this fact stretches across all types of professions from hourly wage earners to professionals with advanced degrees, said Watson. "A woman with the same qualifications, experience and credentials as a man should be paid the same.
If adopted by both the House and Senate, Watson s resolution would commission a report on the effectiveness of the current law in Pennsylvania, with recommendations on how they could be strengthened.
We have laws on equal pay. We ve had them for 55 years, Watson said. Are they just not enforced? Have we forgotten about them? Are they ineffective and if we amend them they will be better?
That s what Watson said her study proposal is designed to find out.
McGinnis, the lone committee dissenter, said he believes the widely-reported gender gap is based on flawed statistical analysis, and that other studies point to women s choices as affecting the gap.
He added that he sees the kind of action Watson s resolution calls for as unwarranted governmental intrusion into the business world.
It is not the government s business what happens in the free enterprise system, McGinnis said.
The Capitol rally was scheduled for April 8 to coincide with the day in which national advocates say women s pay caught up to what men earned through 2013.
It also coincides with an executive order signed by President Barack Obama requiring all federal contractors to keep compensation data based on sex and race.
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