Meet the woman blocking equal pay laws at the Oklahoma Capitol…
3:33 PM EST on February 28, 2017
The sell-out hypocrisy of Oklahoma politicians is truly a sight to behold.
Last year, State Reps Jason Dunnington and Emily Virgin introduced HB 2929. It was designed to help address the gender pay gap by increasing fines for wage discrimination and allowing employees to openly discuss salaries without fear of losing their job. The bill received broad support in both the legislature, but was railroaded at the last second by a lobbying campaign from the State Chamber.
Undeterred, Dunnington worked with the Chamber to address a couple of minor issues and introduced virtually identical legislation (HB 1530) for 2017. Just like last year, the bill has received bipartisan support, but it's now being held up by an unlikely source – State Rep. Elise Hall.
In case you're not familiar, Hall is a young, nubile State Rep from Bethany. She made news early this year when it was revealed she may have committed ethics violations when she promoted her family's food truck - Hall's Pizza Kitchen – to capitol employees. She's also the person who replaced alleged sexual harasser Dan Kirby as the chair of the Business, Commerce and Tourism committee
Although Elise voted "yes" for the last year's equal pay law, she's apparently had a convenient-for-the-ruling-class-who-donates-to-her-campaign change of heart and is refusing to hear the bill. Via an Abby Broyles report on KFOR:
A band of Oklahoma lawmakers have signed on to help shrink the pay gap between men and women, but one lawmaker is holding it up….
A bill authored by Rep. Jason Dunnington focuses on pay transparency.
Basically, if you talk about your wages at work with a coworker, you can’t get fired for it.
The bill sailed through last year but didn’t get heard on the Senate floor the last day of session.
“We feel really confident everyone’s opinion on the bill is the same. It’s just being held up with one member of the House,” Dunnington said.
That member is Hall. She replaced Dan Kirby as chair of the Business, Commerce and Tourism committee when Kirby resigned earlier this month.
Every woman in the House of Representatives, except Hall, has signed on as a coauthor.
Yikes. Oklahoma women can't catch a break! Say what you want about Dan Kirby, but at least he would have at least voted "yes" for this bill just to impress all the ladies at that Capitol. Now he's canned for sexual harassment and the woman chosen to replace him is killing the bill. That's some twisted, cruel irony.
And just to add insult, Elise didn't feel comfortable speaking to KFOR on camera about the bill. Instead, she directed them to her creepy boss that spies on women at the grocery store and had him write her thoughts for her...
Hall told us Monday outside her office she was too busy to talk about the equal pay bill. The House Speaker’s press secretary later sent us this statement on her behalf:
“There are already federal and Oklahoma state laws that prohibit pay discrimination on the basis of gender. Very few businesses have written policies that prohibit employees from discussing pay, and those that do are in violation of federal law. Several businesses have expressed concern that this measure as written is overly broad and would have unintended consequences that could affect their ability to recruit and retain talented workers and protect workplace morale.”
Yeah, how dare our lawmakers consider any form of legislation that is already covered by federal and state laws! We're only allowed to do that if it's pandering, GOP-sponsored legislation that promotes gun ownership and religious freedom that's already covered by federal law.
Also, I call B.S. on that last line. What reputable business would think that promoting and endorsing equal pay in the work force would "affect their ability to recruit and retain talented workers and protect workplace morale." Wait. I can think of one:
Yep, Elisa Hall's pizza food truck is having a job fair. Hurry up and dust off those resumes, ladies! I'm sure it's a great place to work… just as long as you don't discuss your salary or demand equal pay.
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