Mixed reaction over Perry's veto Friday of Equal Pay Bill

Mixed reaction over Perry's veto Friday of Equal Pay Bill

TYLER (KYTX) - Governor Rick Perry gets mixed reaction after he vetoes a bill that would make it easier for women to sue for unequal pay.

Several different recent studies have shown that the wage gap between men and women can be found in almost any industry.

Some examples from the Institute for Women's Policy Research follow: In the nursing, psychiatric and home health fields, women take home about $445 a week, and men, about $508. Women who are financial managers make about $988 a week, where as men in their positions make $1-thousand-405. For secretaries and administrative assistants, women make $665, and men make $803.

Those studies also show that women working full time jobs, still make only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.

"It's 2013. I don't understand. I think that from watching their mothers and their grandmothers, they figured by now, this wouldn't be an issue," says Tyler hair stylist Catharine McAlpin.

McAlpin says she sees the wage gap every day but can't see why Governor Rick Perry vetoed this bill.

"We are just as educated, we are just as hard working," McAlpin says. "It shouldn't have anything to do with whether we're a woman or not."

State Representative Matt Schaefer of Tyler is one of the state lawmakers who agree with Perry, and voted against the bill.

"The lawsuits can already be brought under federal law. We were addressing the state law which simply says that the discrimination lawsuit must be brought within 6 months of the alleged instance of discrimination. This bill would have allowed you to go look even 10 years back," Schaefer says.

Schaefer says allowing women to file claims from instances that far back,  would disrupt business. However, McAlpin says that shouldn't get in the way of equality.

"I was really disappointed," she says. "He didn't want to pass a bill that made federal and state uniform, I don't understand why he wouldn't want to do that."

Perry and Schaefer say, the laws in place offer enough protection.

"You can file in federal court, and you can file in state court within a reasonable amount of time. 6 months is a window of time in which you can bring that discrimination lawsuit into state court," Schaefer explains.
Critics say that six months is not enough time for many women, who realize they are discriminated against much later. They say they'll continue fighting for what they believe is right.

Their concerns lie in these recent studies, which show if change continues at the same pace it has for the past 50 years, it will take almost another 50 years for women to reach equal pay. 

Schaefer says there are critics on the opposite side as well. He says lots of business organizations complained about the bill before Perry vetoed it. Those groups include: The Texas Association of Business, The Association of Builders and Contractors, and National Federation of Independent Business. 

Before the veto, the bill passed in the Texas House in April, 79 votes to 50. It passed in the Texas Senate last month, 16 to 15.

42 states have already passed similar state-based equal pay laws. 


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