Legislators Should Say No to State Version of Ledbetter Act

When Barack Obama became president, the first bill he signed into law was one that validated the concerns of misguided leftist feminists (I know, that seems awfully repetitive).  The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act changed the way disputes over discriminatory pay can be litigated, though it was found to only apply federally, and not in the states.

Unfortunately, a Texas version appeared this session, championed in the House by Rep. Senfronia Thompson and in the Senate by Sen. Wendy Davis.  The House version passed in late April and awaits a hearing in Senate Economic Development, and the Senate version has been on the intent calendar for awhile.  Now, as bills are shuffled through the process with blinding speed – so fast that in many cases, overwhelmed staff and legislators don’t always catch the bad stuff, much less the needless stuff – one or both of these bills could make its way to the governor’s desk.

It is in business’ best interest to treat their employees equitably and fairly, and laws already exist to prevent discriminatory pay for any reason.  An individual can already sue if there is reason to believe their pay is discriminatory.  The Lilly Ledbetter Act, federal or state, is unnecessary and potentially harmful law.

The primary support it had in committee, in the Senate and in the House, was from labor unions.  The National Federation of Independent Business was opposed, as was the Texas Association of Business, and rightfully so.  This kind of legislation, as pointed out by the Independent Women’s Forum, could actually make it more expensive for businesses to employ women, by exposing businesses to expensive lawsuits. The left would like us to believe that this about equal pay and closing the wage gap, when in fact it’s about expanding litigation.  Neither businesses nor employees benefit from that at all.  In fact, it helps stack the deck against women in the workplace and adds more redtape for small businesses.

Hopefully, the clock runs out on this, but either way, “good intentions” have a way of sneaking past even diligent conservatives.  A good rule of thumb, when businesses register a negative opinion and labor unions a positive one, is to just say no.

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