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DENVER — The statistics are widely publicized: for every dollar a man makes, a woman earns around 80 cents. For minorities, the numbers can be even worse. Black women earn an average of 63 cents on the dollar. The average Hispanic woman earns 54 cents.

Wednesday at the Colorado State Capitol, lawmakers were trying to change that with the introduction of the “Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.” The bill was heard in the State Senate Judiciary Committee.

“The problem that we are trying to solve here is that women are paid less than men for the same work,” State Sen. Jessie Danielson (D-Jefferson County) said.

The bill requires employers to post salary ranges during the application process, bans retaliation for filing complaints, allows an easier path for lawsuits and prohibits employers from asking a prospective employee what they earned in a previous job.

“Say a potential employee comes into an interview and they ask her what she used to earn. Well, then they sort of pigeon hole her in that salary range,” Danielson said.

Many business groups are opposed to the legislation.

“It’s extremely costly,” said Tony Gagliardi, the Colorado director of The National Federation of Independent Business.

Gagliardi emphasized the business community is not opposed to equality, but the bill allows for lawsuits to easily pop up against small businesses.

“They have to spend thousands of dollars defending themselves,” said Gagliardi.

The bill is advanced out of committee Wednesday on a party-line vote with Democrats in favor.