Paycheck Fairness Act, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act First Bills to Pass House
In an outstanding victory for women's rights, the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act were the first bills to pass the House in the new legislative session. The Paycheck Fairness Act passed with a 256-163 vote and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed with a 247-171 vote.
The Paycheck Fairness Act passed the House in the last Congress, but was never sent to the Senate floor. It will deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and by barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages.
This Ledbetter Act passed the House in the previous Congress, but Republicans filibustered the bill and prevented a vote in the Senate. It corrects the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire Rubber Co., Inc. Supreme Court decision (see PDF) that gutted the ability of women workers to sue for wage discrimination.
Ledbetter worked for Goodyear for 19 years before discovering that she was paid significantly less than her male counterparts with the same or less experience. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the complaint had to be filed within 180 days of the initial salary decision even if the victim is unaware of the discrimination until much later.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that "equal pay is an issue of fundamental fairness...but as families grapple with difficult economic times, equal pay for equal work is often about daily survival for millions of families," according to the Associated Press.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .