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Much Rejoicing As NH Senate Unanimously Passes Paycheck Fairness Bill

“This definitive, bipartisan action by the full Senate affirms that both Republicans and Democrats agree we must act to close the wage gap in New Hampshire,” said Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen.

Senate Bill 207 has been cited by Senate and House Democrats as a top priority for the 2014 legislative session. All Senate Democrats have sponsored the legislation with House Speaker Terie Norelli serving as the leading House sponsor along with co-sponsors Rep. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst), Rep. MaryAnn Knowles (D-Hudson), and Rep. Marjorie Porter (D-Hillsboro).

sylvia larsen

Senator Sylvia Larsen

“The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act will give the more than 60% of women working in today’s economy, as the primary or co-breadwinners for their families, the much needed tools they need to combat the wage gap,” stated Larsen.

“It’s distressing that, in the year 2014, women in New Hampshire, who are working full-time jobs, still earn only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. National studies have found that a pay gap exists between men and women in nearly every occupation. However, with this bipartisan, unanimous vote, we are sending a crystal clear message that the Legislature is on the side of all workers guaranteeing fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation.”

Senator Larsen concluded her statement by saying, “I look forward to a quick House action, so New Hampshire can renew our commitment to the fundamental principle of, an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay.”

“Today’s unanimous Senate vote to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act is an overwhelming, bipartisan affirmation of the principle that an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay,” stated Governor Maggie Hassan. “This common-sense measure to help eliminate the pay gap between women and men will strengthen our economy and the financial security of working families across our state. I applaud the Senate for today’s bipartisan vote and encourage the House to pass this critical legislation in order to help all of New Hampshire’s workers earn a fair and equal paycheck.”

“We commend members of the Senate for voting unanimously to remove a remaining barrier to pay equity in New Hampshire,” stated Mark MacKenzie, President of the NH AFL-CIO. “Passing SB207 was the right thing to do for fairness and equality, and the right thing to do for the majority of Granite State working families who depend on women’s earnings to get by.”

“We commend the Senate’s unanimous adoption of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act,” stated Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “This law would give employees the tools they need to challenge wage gaps. Data shows that New Hampshire women make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Coupled with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act already in law, these two acts can help to create a climate where wage discrimination is no longer tolerated.”

Along with the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, community groups helped push legislators to pass this Paycheck Fairness bill.  Below are statements from some of the other organizations celebrating today’s vote.

Kary Jencks, Executive Director, NH Citizens Alliance for Action: “The Senate recognized today that ensuring equal pay for equal work is important to protecting New Hampshire working families.  A woman’s earnings, whether she is married or not, are crucial to family support. Closing the wage gap is the right action for New Hampshire to take for the economic security of Granite Staters.”

Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union: “We applaud the Senate’s bipartisan approval of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act. In approving this critical legislation, the Senate has taken an important step towards eliminating unfair gender paycheck inequities in the state of New Hampshire.”

Dawn Andonellis, Public Policy Chair for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of New Hampshire: “We applaud the New Hampshire State Senate for passing the Paycheck Fairness Act in a bipartisan fashion and for taking this important step toward closing the wage gap and ending gender discrimination in the workplace. Moving this bill forward would give the women of New Hampshire a reason to actually celebrate Equal Pay Day on April 8. Finally, women are closer to achieving equal pay for equal work.”

Mary Jo Brown, Chair of the New Hampshire Women’s Initiative: “The New Hampshire Women’s Initiative applauds the Senate’s unanimous adoption of SB 207. SB 207 is a great step toward reducing the wage gap and promoting pay equity for all Granite Staters. The bill, which includes provisions towards paycheck transparency, honors NHWI’s agenda and findings from our 2013 statewide listening sessions with NH citizens. We are proud to thank Senator Larsen and her cosponsors for the bipartisan support of the bill. We are excited that the Senate has passed this important piece of legislation and look forward to working with the House.”

Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment at the National Women’s Law Center: “This bipartisan vote reflects the simple fact that giving women tools to combat pay discrimination and close the wage gap is a common sense solution that everyone should be able to get behind.”

The NH Senate was realistically the only hurdle this bill faced in getting passed in New Hampshire.  The GOP controlled Senate was the only truly unknown in this bills likelihood of passing.  The bill will now moved to the Democrat controlled house, where I should pass with ease.  I expect the Governor could be signing this bill before May first.

 

Governor Hassan And Senator Larsen Voice Support for Paycheck Fairness Act

Governor Hassan Submits Letter Urging Senate Commerce Committee
to Recommend Passage of Measure to Address Pay Equity

Senator Larson Urges The Senate To Pass SB 207 In Committee Hearing Today

CONCORD – Emphasizing the need to address pay equity between women and men in order to boost economic growth and support working families, Governor Maggie Hassan today submitted a letter (included below) to the Senate Commerce Committee in support of SB 207 – the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 – legislation sponsored by Senator Sylvia Larsen that updates state law to eliminate loopholes, increase transparency in wages, and ensure that all workers have the appropriate tools and resources to help them earn a fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation.

“Today, well over half of the women in our state are either the primary or co-breadwinners in their families,” Governor Hassan wrote. “And yet, on average, women in New Hampshire earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to what men earn in comparable jobs. This disparity makes it more difficult for New Hampshire families to achieve financial prosperity and save for the future. It also puts further strain on our state budget and hurts our local businesses by taking money out of the pockets of consumers.

“The Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 will strengthen New Hampshire’s economic future and improve the financial security of working families by providing the tools and protections needed to ensure equal paychecks for all Granite Staters.”

“Ensuring that both women and men can earn equal pay for an equal day’s work is essential to our economic future,” the Governor’s letter continued. “We must reduce the strain that pay disparity puts on thousands of families and help strengthen our middle class.”

Before a packed Senate Commerce Committee hearing today Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen urged the passage of her prime sponsored bill SB 207, New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help women stand up for equal pay in the workplace.

“In 2014, it’s unimaginable that New Hampshire women working full time, year-round earn 77 cents for every dollar paid to male workers doing the same job. The existence of such pay disparities hurts working families, because it depresses the wages of working families who rely on the wages of all members of the family to make ends meet.”

“The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act would build on the important equal pay law signed in 2000 by then-Governor Jeanne Shaheen. By eliminating loopholes, ending prohibitions against employees who inquire about their employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages, and having employers display notices in the workplace informing employees of their rights under the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act.”

“The wage gap exists in every age group. Even after one year out of college, women working full-time were still not paid what their male peers were paid, according to a recent study that looked at the earnings of women and men one year after college graduation. Pay equity is vital.  Our daughters because of their gender do not get to pay less on their student loan payments, or rent, or even when they buy groceries at the store.”  And the evidence is if you are a woman earning the NH median wage you are losing roughly $11,000 a year to pay inequality.”

“The New Hampshire Legislature must act to close the gender gap and pass the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act. We have a responsibility end this problem for our daughters.  We should not leave this for our daughters or their daughters to fix.”

Governor Hassan’s full letter to the Senate Commerce Committee is below:

January 23, 2014 

Senator Andy Sanborn, Chairman
Senate Commerce Committee
Room 101
Legislative Office Building, Concord 

Dear Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

I write to you today in support of SB 207, the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014, a critical piece of legislation for New Hampshire’s economy and working families. Today, well over half of the women in our state are either the primary or co-breadwinners in their families. And yet, on average, women in New Hampshire earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to what men earn in comparable jobs. This disparity makes it more difficult for New Hampshire families to achieve financial prosperity and save for the future. It also puts further strain on our state budget and hurts our local businesses by taking money out of the pockets of consumers.

The Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 will strengthen New Hampshire’s economic future and improve the financial security of working families by providing the tools and protections needed to ensure equal paychecks for all Granite Staters. It builds on the important equal pay law signed in 2000 by then-Governor Jeanne Shaheen by eliminating loopholes, increasing transparency in wages, and ensuring that all workers have the appropriate tools and resources to help them earn a fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation. 

The measure will also highlight New Hampshire employers who successfully take action to ensure equal pay for men and women by creating the Governor’s New Hampshire Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace. We know there are many businesses that have made pay equity a priority, and recognizing their efforts will encourage others to focus on improving paycheck fairness for all of their employees. 

Ensuring that both women and men can earn equal pay for an equal day’s work is essential to our economic future. We must reduce the strain that pay disparity puts on thousands of families and help strengthen our middle class. I thank Senator Larsen for sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act and encourage members of the committee to recommend passage. Thank you for your consideration. 

With every good wish,

Margaret Wood Hassan
Governor

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