FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Equal Pay Day marks the day each year that the average American woman would have to work until to make up for the gap between her earnings and the earnings of a white man from the previous year.
Over a 40-year career, the gender pay gap means that American women, on average, $500,000 compared to their male counterparts. The impact of this inequity for women of color, in particular, is significantly worse. For black women, those lost wages increase to $700,000 and to $800,000 for Latina women, according to a statement from the Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network.
On April 2, the Ohio House Democrats unveiled three bills which comprise a legislative strategy to narrow and ultimately eliminate the gender pay gap in the State of Ohio; the Ohio Equal Pay Act (its fifth introduction), a statewide paid family leave policy, and a bill to create an anonymous system for Ohio workers to report wage discrimination and theft.
The Ohio Equal Pay Act, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna), prohibits gag orders on employees that keep them from talking about their salaries with one another and requires the state’s private-sector vendors to obtain an Equal Pay Certificate, certifying that women at those companies are given equal opportunity for career advancement. The bill also requires state government entities to evaluate employees’ pay scales to ensure compensation is based on skills, responsibilities and working conditions across job categories.
The persistent, pervasive wage gap remains a problem among working women in Ohio. Whether in low or high wage jobs, women experience wage gaps in nearly every sector of work, even when accounting for variables like education level and work experience #EqualPayDay #OhioEqualPayAct pic.twitter.com/YCi3GABKEM
— Women’s Public Policy Network (@OhioWPPN) April 2, 2019
“It is long past time to empower women in the workplace to be what they are—equal,” said Rep. Clites. “Closing the gap ensures better lives, brighter futures and the opportunity for Ohio women and families to get ahead and save for the future.”
The wage gap has real economic consequences, not only for women but for the State of Ohio as a whole.
“Wage inequality means that women have less to spend on themselves and their families, less to invest and save for the future, and less to put back into businesses and the local economy,” said Erin Ryan, Managing Director of the Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network.
The second bill discussed at the Tuesday press conference is a paid family leave policy sponsored by Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus). House Bill 91 received its first hearing last week on March 26. The bill would create up to 12 weeks of paid parental, family, and personal medical leave insurance benefits for Ohio workers during a 12-month period. The insurance program would apply to individuals who must take a leave of absence from work to address a serious health condition, to care for a family member, or to bond with a new child.
Finally, Rep. Erica C. Crawley said she will soon jointly sponsor a bill requiring the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to establish a system allowing workers to anonymously report wage discrimination by an employer. Such complaints could be submitted by phone or online. A 2018 study by the Economic Policy Institute estimated that Ohio workers lose 600 million dollars each year to wage theft. Meanwhile, the state’s capacity to investigate these infractions is limited to follow-up on complaints by a total of six employees who comprise the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Wage And Hour Enforcement unit.
“If the current pace of change continues at the same rate as it has in the United States since 1960, men and women will not reach gender pay parity until the year 2059,” said Ryan. “And that is far too long for women and their families to wait.”
On Monday, Gov. John Kasich is set to unveil his two-year state budget plan. The plan will outline how the state will spend over $55 billion in state tax collections and federal grants.
In his first budget, released in 2011, Kasich notably opted to shift the burden of paying for government to local taxpayers by preserving spending at most state agencies while drastically cutting revenue shared with local governments and schools. With a modest economic recovery underway, the 2014-2015 state budget will not be about allocating cuts, but instead is expected to see revenue gains. The big question for Monday will be whether Kasich restores those earlier cuts to provide property tax relief at the local level or instead uses increasing tax revenue to fund the gradual elimination of Ohio’s income tax – which, being based on an individual’s ability to pay, is our most progressive tax. [Read more…]
In Washington, President Obama and Congressional Democrats secured a historic fiscal victory in early January. By finally passing legislation that asked the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes, lawmakers moved one step closer to securing our nation’s fiscal health.
At the state level though, Republican Governors from around the country are pushing for tax reforms that would do the exact opposite. These governors want to see income taxes reduced or eliminated while raising other more regressive taxes that harm low- and middle-income taxpayers. These pieces of legislation are taken straight from the radical conservative playbook in an effort to transfer the burden of paying for public services from the wealthiest to the less well off. The Republican argument is that if a state lowers their income tax rate it will become more competitive in the eye of businesses who may want to relocate there or to help attract high-skilled workers.
For example, according to a recent New York Times article, Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback introduced legislation to phase out the state’s income tax by cutting services and keeping in place what was meant to be a temporary increase in the state’s sales tax. Republican lawmakers in Kansas said that individuals were leaving the state to move to states that do not have income taxes and that this legislation would make them more competitive.
In reality, recent evidence points to the fact that there is no correlation between a state income tax rate and economic growth. What is worse is that these policies are simply another gift to the rich at the expense of low- and middle-income workers.
Bravo to the Plain Dealer for getting the big four in Ohio elections law and policy on the record regarding national GOP attempts to rig the Electoral College.
The Plain Dealer reports that Gov. John Kasich, House Speaker Bill Batchelder and Senate President Keith Faber have all said through spokespeople that there are no plans for Ohio Republicans to join their compatriots in states like Virginia and Pennsylvania to change how Electoral College votes are tallied.
We posted earlier this week about Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted floating the idea at a post-election lobbying confab in Columbus that winner takes all Electoral College vote tallying in Ohio would solve some of (his) perceived problems. (Perhaps like President Barack Obama winning the state.) To Husted’s credit, he says the remarks were taken out of context and said this today to the Plain Dealer:
“Nobody in Ohio is advocating this,” Husted said in a telephone interview.
Let’s hope this is the case and that Democrats and Independents in Ohio aren’t futher insulted and taken advantage of by extending gerrymandering to the Electoral College.
Currently, if a presidential candidate wins a state’s popular vote the winner also receives all of the state’s Electoral College votes. The only exceptions to this rule are Nebraska and Maine.
However, after losing two presidential elections in a row, Republican lawmakers across the nation are attempting to change this in their respective states. In several Republican-controlled legislatures in states that supported President Barack Obama there are legislative initiatives to award their state’s Electoral College votes based on congressional district. This plan takes advantage of the fact that the GOP has successfully gerrymandered districts in key blue states. A recent analysis by the Center for American Progress shows that had this election rigging plan been in place in 2012, Mitt Romney would be in the White House, despite Obama capturing the popular vote.
Ohio is ripe for this type of effort. Republicans control the governor’s office and both houses of the Ohio General Assembly. Due to this control – and the way Ohio reapportions state and federal legislative districts every ten years – for the second decade in a row Ohio’s General Assembly and congressional districts have been drawn along hyper-partisan lines. While Ohioans voted to elect Obama in the last election and statewide voting totals for Democratic candidates exceeded GOP totals, Ohio’s congressional seats are split roughly 75/25 in favor of the GOP and statehouse seats are no better.
The idea to change Electoral College rules in the states is gaining momentum. Earlier this month Reince Priebus, Chairman of the RNC, voiced support. Legislation to divide electoral votes has been introduced in Michigan and Virginia. In Virginia this legislation has been voted out of committee. Pennsylvania Senate Republican Leader Pileggi has renewed efforts to pass such legislation in his state. Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin has said it is an “interesting idea.”
This fall, shortly after the election, Secretary of State Jon Husted suggested that he supports the idea of splitting the Electoral College votes in Ohio. Will John Husted bring this alarming national trend to Ohio?
“You’re never going to fix the elections process in Ohio as long as we are the most important swing state in the country….
The way that you could minimize that is that you could fix redistricting so that we had fair Congressional districts and then you could apportion all of our electoral votes according to Congressional district so that it wouldn’t be a winner take all state. And if you did that you would take the importance of Ohio out of this and all of those elections problems would go away”
While he later backtracked and said this was just a comment, not a proposal, it may just be a matter of time before similar legislation finds its way to Ohio. As for fair congressional districts in Ohio, we know what the GOP really thinks of that idea. In the lame duck session of the last General Assembly there was a brief bipartisan effort to work on a more fair way to redistrict after every decennial census. There were two major roadblocks: House Speaker Bill Batchelder (a Republican) and general Republican refusal to consider any bill that would take effect before the next U.S. Census – in 2020.
Stan Collender is a Roll Call columnist and longtime Washington insider in the public and private sector.
In a blog post, Collender tells us this about GOP threats to hold America hostage via the debt ceiling:
But it would be wrong to dismiss it out of hand. From the conversations I’ve had with Republicans House members and staff since the 2012 election, the threats, are real and make a great deal of political sense no matter how obnoxious and damaging it otherwise would be.
The key is the new House GOP politics of this decade.
I’ve repeatedly been told that, with redistricting in place, House Republicans are relatively certain they’ll be able to maintain the majority at least through the end of this decade if they continue to appeal to the GOP base in their congressional districts.
The 130th Ohio General Assembly will be sworn into office in the coming days, with only 17 new House members and 2 new Senate members, we can look back to the 129th General Assembly for an idea of how women’s issues will fare in the 130th General Assembly.
In the 129th General Assembly, a total of 15 anti-woman bills or resolutions were introduced and just over 60% received a vote in either the Senate or the House. Six of these unfavorable bills were enacted. This resulted in further restrictions on abortions and abortion coverage.
A total of 26 bills or resolutions that were favorable towards women were introduced. However many of these bills never saw more than one hearing and only 15% of these bills were voted on.
A bill was 4 times as likely to receive a hearing if it was unfavorable to women. Only three of the favorable bills were passed and two – SB 199 for Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day and SCR 15 Folic Acid Awareness Day – simply designated awareness days and made no major policy changes.
Due to November’s election results – and the new gerrymandered House and Senate district maps, we can expect this same trend in the 130th General Assembly.
The 129th General Assembly took on a few high profile fights as the house voted on and passed HB 125, the Heartbeat Bill, which would have left Ohio with the most restrictive abortion restrictions in the country. The Senate ultimately didn’t vote on this bill and it was not enacted. House Speaker Bill Batchelder (R) has said that there is no question that this bill will again be introduced in the 130th General Assembly.
HB 298, which attempted to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, was introduced early in the House and revived following the 2012 election. Several hearings were held and the committee ultimately voted the bill out of committee, 11-9. The measure did not receive a vote on the house floor. This too could be revived in the next general assembly.
The Kasich administration demonstrated support for most of the anti-woman bills and has no problem touting his pro-life credentials. Two of Kasich’s three consumer appointments to the Ohio Medical Board have been board members of Ohio Right to Life. Michael Gonidakis, the Executive Director of Ohio Right to Life, was Kasich’s most recent appointment to the Ohio State Medical Board. As Kasich moves into his second term and faces reelection, we expect him to make more extreme appointments to Ohio boards.
Ohio Women’s Watch will continue to monitor legislation and policy decisions that impact women as we move into the 130th General Assembly and the Biennial Budget.