legislation

Paycheck Fairness Act Reintroduced in Senate

The bill, S. 84 [sic] seeks to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and require employers to prove that differences in wage are the result of differences in merit, not gender. It also prohibits retaliation against employees who file claims of wage discrimination, and allows victims of wage discrimination to seek punitive damages for lost wages.

It seems like the primary purpose of the bill is to close a loophole in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that allows employers to pay employees differently on the basis of “(1) a seniority system; (2) a merit system; (3) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (4) a differential based on any other factor other than sex”.

(4) is the loophole; you can shoehorn a lot of sexism into criteria that aren’t, strictly speaking, “sex”.

What Local Abortion Laws Look Like Now

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and The Atlantic Wire has re-published a chart from Bloomberg Businessweek showing the number and kind of the various anti-abortion laws introduced in different states during the last two calendar years. Interesting way of representing the data, although I think it would have worked better in linear, not circular form.

Violence Against Women Act Reintroduced

The 112th Congress let it fall through the cracks, but Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are reintroducing not only the bill but the provisions intended to include Native American and LGBT women. Leahy’s statement on Tuesday pulls no punches:

"The fate of the Violence Against Women Act still lays squarely on the shoulders of Eric Cantor and John Boehner. To date they have refused to listen to countless law enforcement and women’s groups as well as moderate voices in their own party in the House and Senate who’ve said we need to pass the Senate’s bipartisan bill that extends protections to millions of new women.

"In a new Congress, on a newly reintroduced bill, the House Republican leadership faces the same choice. They can either kowtow [to] those on the far right of their caucus who would turn battered women away from care, or they can stand with Democrats, moderate Republicans, and the many millions of Americans who believe that who a person loves, where they live, or their immigration status shouldn’t determine whether they are protected from violence.

Too right.

Most People Oppose Overturning Roe v. Wade

Results from The Pew Forum’s most recent survey, published on Wednesday:

As the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision approaches, the public remains opposed to completely overturning the historic ruling on abortion. More than six-in-ten (63%) say they would not like to see the court completely overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman’s constitutional right to abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Only about three-in-ten (29%) would like to see the ruling overturned. These opinions are little changed from surveys conducted 10 and 20 years ago.

How does that jibe with the increasing prevalance of anti-abortion legislation being enacted? I think this at least partly explains it:

White evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group in which a majority (54%) favors completely overturning the Roe v. Wade decision.

You can see from the link above that nearly half of the anti-abortion provisions passed in 2012 came from the same six states, five of which are red states. While Republicans are almost evenly split on overturning Roe v. Wade, white evangelicals—the GOP’s go-to group—support it. The survey results indicate that this group is also more likely than any other to think that abortion is a “critical issue”.

I often wonder what would happen if the Republican party leadership started legislating based on what all of their constituents want instead of relying on a few hot-button issues they know will win the support of conservative Christians.

Anyway, the survey doesn’t take a terribly long time to read, so check it out if you’re at all interested in the topic of abortion legislation.

Via the Feminist Majority Foundation Blog.

Indians Outraged Over Rape on Moving Bus in New Delhi

Several men repeatedly raped a woman and beat her male date with an iron rod before throwing both from a bus, naked and unconscious.

The woman suffered severe injuries to her head and intestines and required multiple operations, local news media reported, indicators of an assault so savage that India’s capital on Tuesday was shaking with public outrage. Protesters encircled a local police station and blocked a major highway. India’s Parliament erupted in angry protests and condemnation.

“A terrible, terrible atrocity has happened,” Renuka Chowdhury, a member of Parliament, said Tuesday during a raucous session in the upper house. “I am not going to allow this incident to become another statistic.”

Let’s hope Parliament can follow through on using all this outrage to enforce meaningful change.

Via Feministing.