[UPDATES at end of post]
No, not the actual person—the Fair Pay legislation.
Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, but in Texas, tough. You can file in federal courts, but in state courts, which are far easier to access than federal courts, the old ways still apply:
What this means is that under Texas law, unlike under federal law, the time that an employee alleging unequal pay has to file a charge of discrimination does not restart with every paycheck. Instead, an employee alleging unequal pay under Texas law must file a charge of discrimination within 180 days after learning of the alleged discriminatory pay decision.
Realistically, few people learn of pay discrimination within 180 days of starting their jobs. Lilly Ledbetter didn’t learn about the wage discrimination she had been subjected to until years after she started.
Senator Wendy Davis has filed SB 248 to provide uniformity between state and federal anti-discrimination laws. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Economic Development Committee hearing this morning, February 20, 2013. From an alert I received at 4 a.m.:
The Senators on the committee are the ones to work on right now. Call them, then call your own Senator. They are:
Sen. Bob Deuell – SD 2- Mesquite, Rockwall, Terrell, Greenville
Sen. Kelly Hancock – SD 9 – Keller, N Richland Hills, Haltom City, Euless, parts of Arlington, Irving, Grand Prairie
Sen. Brian Birdwell – SD 22 – Waco
Sen. Wendy Davis – SD 10 – Ft Worth
If you’re calling Sen. Davis’ office, please just thank her for her advocacy on this important issue and let her know you support the bill.
Sen. Kevin Eltife – SD 1 – Tyler, Longview, Texarkana
Sen. Troy Fraser – SD 24 – Abilene, Brownwood, Belton, F’burg, Killeen, Kerrville, Temple
Sen. Kirk Watson – SD14 – Austin, Bastrop
If you are in Austin, go to the Capitol and sign in at the committee meeting in support of the bill. You can sign up to testify, but even if you can only stop by to sign in, that matters. Please go for those of us who can’t.
If you can call, because you’re not in Austin, call! How to call & what to say:
If you don’t know who represents you, go to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/
1) Ask for the staffer who works on economic development
2) Tell them if you are a constituent, or if you are calling because your Senator is not on the committee
3) Let them know that SB 248 is in the Senate Economic Development Committee this morning and you urge them to support it
4) If you want to give a fact, pick one or two reasons you are supporting this:
- The wage gap hits low-wage workers the hardest. A woman who did not finish high school who works full-time, year-round, makes on average only 71% what her male peers make. Women who do the hard work that keeps our society moving, like cleaning, providing care in our hospitals and nursing homes, and cooking and serving our food, deserve to be paid equally and fairly. (Source: National Women’s Law Center analysis of Census Bureau data)
- The wage gap hits women of color disproportionately hard. Here in Texas, Black women make only 58.8% what a white male does, and Hispanic/Latina women make just 44.4%. Texas ranks 40th in pay equity for Black women and 46th for Hispanic/Latina women. We’re worse than Oklahoma on both! Surely we can’t allow that. (Source: National Women’s Law Center analysis of Census Bureau data)
- Fair and equal pay can help women get out of poverty, which is good for them and for Texas’ bottom line. When employers pay people what they are worth, families do better, workers need less from the state (i.e. fewer government benefits), and Texas has a stronger workforce.
Be polite. Be brief. Thank them for their time.
Thanks to my awesome network for the heads up on this.
Forgive any typos, errors, etc. I’m trying to get this up & out quickly.
But you can still call to urge your Senator to support this bill. This gives you time to write a good, old-fashioned paper letter and get it to Austin as well.