Democrats announce more equal pay laws at Capitol

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DENVER — House Democrats Thursday announced more equal pay measures that they say address the inequality women feel in the workplace.

Rep. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, started the event with a call for action. “When women earn equal pay for equal work, our entire economy will grow,” Danielson said.

The bills would make it a requirement for a state contractor to pay women the same as men. It would also allow employees to openly discuss salary information without fear of retribution. Finally, the measures would ban employers from asking about salary history.

For Lucy March, a law professor at the University of Denver, she knows all too well about pay inequity.

In 2013, she discovered that her male counterparts at the law school were making around $16,000 more than female faculty — for that reason she sued.

March welcomed the new legislation but says employers must ultimately be held accountable.

“It’s the employers responsibility to make sure people are paid equally,” Marsh added.

But not everyone is on board.

“We already have laws on the books,” Representative Polly Lawrence, Republican Assistant Minority Leader, said.

Lawrence says Republicans are all for equal pay but those laws passed decades ago. She contends sometimes salary data highlighting how little women make are often skewed.

“Having the government go in and examine employers records to see what their policies are— I think that’s problematic,” Lawrence added.

The Equal Pay legislation now heads to various committees at the Capitol for consideration.

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