/Equal gender pay bill on its way to the Senate

Equal gender pay bill on its way to the Senate

Rep. Alyce C. Clarke (D- Jackson) introduced an amendment to House Bill 1241 that would equalize pay. It would prevent local governments from setting their own minimum wages. The amendment passed with bipartisan support. Many Republicans changed their votes later in favor. The bill, which would have established a state law requiring men to be paid equal wages for equal work, was withdrawn Friday by Rep. Sonya Williams Barnes of Gulfport. She offered a similar amendment, and Rep. Mark Baker (R-Brandon) introduced a point-of-order. House Speaker Philip Gunn decided on Tuesday that the point of order was valid. Baker described Williams-Barnes’ amendment as problematic. The House approved her amendment, and also passed the substitute equal pay amendment. Clarke was assured by Baker that he supported equal pay. The changes would not affect the original intent of Clarke’s amendment. Baker stated, “I’m not trying pull any punches.” Clarke was assured that his amendment was fair. He also said that he did not intend to kill the bill nor to damage the equal-pay amendment. If the House wanted it to pass, he would be supportive. Clarke requested that her name be added as co-author to the replacement. Baker also deleted two sections that dealt with local governments and employment discrimination, as they were not consistent with the bill’s intent. The bill was passed 106-10 with all the “nays” coming from Democrats. The Senate is now expected to act on it. Check out the breakdown of the vote: