ONTD Political

Scott Walker Quietly Repeals Wisconsin Equal Pay Law

9:28 am - 04/09/2012
WASHINGTON -- A Wisconsin law that made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court was repealed on Thursday, after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) quietly signed the bill.

The 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act was meant to deter employers from discriminating against certain groups by giving workers more avenues via which to press charges. Among other provisions, it allows individuals to plead their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system, rather than just in federal court.

In November, the state Senate approved SB 202, which rolled back this provision. On February, the Assembly did the same. Both were party-line votes in Republican-controlled chambers.

SB 202 was sent to Walker on March 29. He had, according to the state constitution, six days to act on the bill. The deadline was 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. The governor quietly signed the bill into law on Thursday, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau, and it is now called Act 219.

Walker's office did not return repeated requests for comment.

State Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee), the authors of the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, criticized Walker on Thursday for not informing the public of his actions on SB 202.

“We are finally starting to see progress here in Wisconsin, yet like their counterparts across the country, Legislative Republicans want to turn back the clock on women’s rights in the workplace,” said Hansen.

Women earn 77 cents for every dollar that men make. In Wisconsin, it's 75 cents, according to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH), which also estimates that families in the state "lose more than $4,000 per year due to unequal pay."

Business associations lobbied in support of SB 202, according to the state's Government Accountability Board. Groups like Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and the Wisconsin Restaurant Association all backed a repeal.

Sara Finger, executive director of WAWH, said that the repeal was a "demoralizing attack on women’s rights, health, and wellbeing."

"Economic security is a women’s health issue," she said. "The salary women are paid directly affects the type and frequency of health care services they are able to access. At a time when women’s health services are becoming more expensive and harder to obtain, financial stability is essential to maintain steady access."

Walker is facing a recall election in June. The two frontrunners on the Democratic side who are competing to unseat him, former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, sharply criticized the governor for allowing the repeal bill to become law.

Falk said Walker has "turned back the clock for women across Wisconsin."

"As a woman and as a mother who worked full-time while raising my son, I know first-hand how important pay equity and health care are to women across Wisconsin," she said in a statement to The Huffington Post.

A spokesman for Barrett's campaign said that Walker's "ideological civil war includes a war on women, and repeal today of this protection against pay discrimination is a major step backwards for Wisconsin values and basic fairness."

"Tom Barrett knows equal pay for equal work is essential, and failing to stand up for Wisconsin women in the workplace is yet another reason he [Walker] must be defeated this summer," he said.

UPDATE: 2:17 p.m. -- The Plum Line reports that President Barack Obama's campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith responded to Walker's repeal, calling on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, to take a position on the issue.

"As he campaigned across Wisconsin, Mitt Romney repeatedly praised Governor Scott Walker's leadership, calling him a 'hero' and 'a man of courage,'" she said. "But with his signing yesterday of a bill make it harder for women to enforce in court their right to equal pay, Walker showed how far Republicans are willing to go to undermine not only women's health care, but also their economic security. Does Romney think women should have ability to take their bosses to court to get the same pay as their male coworkers? Or does he stand with Governor Walker against this?"


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emofordino 9th-Apr-2012 01:36 pm (UTC)
jettakd 9th-Apr-2012 01:37 pm (UTC)
Appropriate use of the fuckery tag.
wingstar102 9th-Apr-2012 03:08 pm (UTC)
I second this.
doverz 9th-Apr-2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
I really hate Walker. I am seriously praying to every deity out there that he gets recalled.
tabaqui 9th-Apr-2012 02:53 pm (UTC)
When the *hell* is this asshat going to be gone?
chaya 9th-Apr-2012 03:00 pm (UTC)
Ikr? Didn't we get thousands of "GTFO" signatures? What else needs to happen before he's out?
oceandezignz 9th-Apr-2012 03:00 pm (UTC)
Wow Walker fuck YOU. June cannot come soon enough to pile drive the nail into your coffin of Repugnantcan fuckery. I doubt half these idiots are going to back up you come election time, too busy trying to save their own ignorant asses.
abee 9th-Apr-2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
A fucking terrorist, that's what he is now.
one_hoopy_frood 9th-Apr-2012 03:42 pm (UTC)
meowchica 9th-Apr-2012 03:50 pm (UTC)
it creates jobs, doncha know
doverz 9th-Apr-2012 03:54 pm (UTC)
That's the excuse that some companies have been making. Now, they don't have to worry about spending money on lawsuits and can hire more people.

RME. Yeah right. That money will just go to the people in charge.
lickbrains 9th-Apr-2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
dark_puck 9th-Apr-2012 04:13 pm (UTC)
...is it just me, or does it seem like Walker is trying to punish Wisconsin for the recall?
chaya 9th-Apr-2012 04:15 pm (UTC)
It isn't just you.
bib_specialist 9th-Apr-2012 04:25 pm (UTC)
It's obvious that by now he's just trying to do as much damage as he can before getting kicked out of office. He's doing stuff out of sheer spite.
alierakieron 9th-Apr-2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
I'm just desperately hoping that the rumors about him being the VP candidate for Romney are false. That's the latest conspiracy theory here: if he resigns in order to run and his L.Gov. (*howls of rage*) steps into the office, the recall is off and we'd have to wait for HER to be in office a year before she could be recalled.
hinoema 9th-Apr-2012 06:02 pm (UTC)
I think the fine people of Wisconsin would then calmly march to the capital and burn that shit DOWN.
mirhanda 9th-Apr-2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! How soon is y'all's recall election? Do you think your new governor will be able to repeal all this crap he's passing?
beautyofgrey 9th-Apr-2012 06:25 pm (UTC)
This was the article that pulled me out of my post-Spring break slump to fill me with *RAGE*. As long as Walker is in office, I don't even think I need caffeine.

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