Bill to shrink gender pay gap in OK may not make deadline - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Bill to shrink gender pay gap in OK may not make deadline

Rep. Elise Hall Rep. Elise Hall

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KFOR) - An Oklahoma lawmaker is holding up a bill that would help shrink the pay gap between men and women in the state.

According to KFOR, Rep. Elise Hall is the chair of the committee and refuses to hear the bill, despite voting for it last year; she is the only woman in the House of Representatives that has not signed on as a co-author.

Oklahoma women make 73 cents for every dollar paid to men, even lower than the national average.

“Anytime there’s a gap like that in pay, women question 'Should I work, does this economically make sense?' With equal pay, it makes some of those decisions whether or not to stay at home or stay in the workforce easier to make, if they can justify being able to afford childcare and make ends meet a little easier,” said Oklahoma Women’s Coalition Executive Director Danielle Ezell.

According to KFOR, the bill, authored by Rep. Jason Dunnington, focuses on pay transparency.

“We’ve passed bills that protect honeybees and describe women’s bodies as easy bake ovens. I would think that it would be common sense that we would allow a bill like this, that protects women’s wages… would be something to be prioritized and heard,” said Dunnington.

Rep. Elise Hall replaced Dan Kirby as chair of the Business, Commerce and Tourism committee when Kirby resigned earlier this month.

The House Speaker’s press secretary released this statement on Rep. Elise Hall’s 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.”

Hall would have to put the bill on the calendar by 5:00 p.m. today for it to be heard by the deadline.

Information provided by KFOR.

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