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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hassan pushes for pay equity between men, women in NH

CONCORD – Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a proclamation Tuesday demanding equal pay for men and women and pressed for legislative action on a pay equity bill.

As the second woman elected governor of New Hampshire, Hassan said there’s no excuse in 2014 for women being paid on average 77 cents for every $1 a man makes. ...

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CONCORD – Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a proclamation Tuesday demanding equal pay for men and women and pressed for legislative action on a pay equity bill.

As the second woman elected governor of New Hampshire, Hassan said there’s no excuse in 2014 for women being paid on average 77 cents for every $1 a man makes.

“This disparity makes it more difficult for New Hampshire families to achieve financial prosperity and save for the future,” Hassan said in testimony given to a House committee. “It also puts further strain on our state budget and hurts our local businesses by taking money out of the pockets of consumers.”

Granite State Progress, a liberal special-interest group, organized a news conference where House Speaker Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth; Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen, of Concord; and other prominent Democrats called for the same reform.

“Equally qualified women should be compensated the same as men doing the same job – it’s that simple,” Hassan said. “If they are not, women should have the tools necessary to seek justice for paycheck inequity.”

The bill at issue prevents employers from taking action against any worker who shares information about their pay with others.

Pay equity has become a dominant political theme for Democrats here and nationally, as they seek to limit damage during mid-term elections this November.

President Barack Obama won the 2008 and 2012 elections with strong majorities of women voters; conversely, the GOP made historic gains by winning back some of those voters in 2010.

Key GOP legislative leaders in New Hampshire have avoided the political battle waged in other states, where Democrats were accused of overexaggerating the difference in pay and failing to acknowledge that much of the pay gap was due to choices that women have made in the workplace.

The New Hampshire Senate adopted the bill 23-0.

Hassan noted that former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, the first female chief executive, signed into law a ban on discrimination against women in the workplace in 2000.

“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,” Hassan said.

“It builds on the important equal pay law signed in 2000 by then-Gov. 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.”

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).