With Equal Pay Day occurring this Tuesday, Pennsylvania Democrats renewed a push to strengthen state and federal pay equity laws, citing workplace discrimination statistics that scholars often find questionable.
State Senators Maria Collett (D-North Wales) and Steve Santarsiero (D-Doylestown) proposed a bill that would apply the commonwealth’s Equal Pay Law to a broader universe of workers and a greater scope of fringe benefits. The measure introduced unsuccessfully last session, would also bolster employees’ rights to inquire about the wages a company pays and permit workers to collect back wages from employers who courts find in breach of the law. The senators said these changes are necessary because women in Pennsylvania earn 79 cents for every dollar men receive, a disparity of over $10,000 per year.
A state constitutional amendment that passed both houses of the state legislature last week stipulates that Pennsylvania recognizes neither a right to abortion nor to public funding of abortion.
The legislation stops short of a ban on either surgical or chemically induced abortions but ensures that lawmakers may enact restrictions uninhibited by courts.
Days after several Pennsylvania Senate Democrats proposed legislation to codify the recently overturned Roe v. Wade decision, one senator is spearheading a more expansive measure to enshrine abortion and various sexual rights in the Pennsylvania Constitution.
State Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Doylestown) issued a memorandum to colleagues on Tuesday asking them to cosponsor his amendment. It would codify not only the 1973 Roe ruling that forbade states from prohibiting abortion but also the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision disallowing bans on gay marriage. Other “privacy”-related rights Santarsiero wishes to write into the state Constitution include those identified in the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut ruling, which disallowed contraception bans, and in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, which barred sodomy laws.