Representatives Push for Gender Wage Gap Bill

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According to Fortune Magazine, Wyoming has one of the worst wage gaps for men and women.

But where does that information actually come from? That's what lawmakers want to know.

We looked into a bill sponsored in hopes of finding the discrepancy, if any.

Representative Cathy Connolly told News 13, “Having national headlines say that Wyoming's women are worst doesn't help us. I can with 99% confidence say that that kind of soft measure doesn't help us."

That's why Representatives Connolly and Representative Marti Halverson introduced House Bill 209.

If passed, the bill would require the Department of Workforce Services to complete a comprehensive study on wage differences.

Representative Eric Barlow shared, “Where there's a disparity, certainly we need to examine that and say what we can do to reduce or eliminate disparities. So I think it's a worthwhile effort to understand.”

Representative Connolly was on the original research team for the 2003 study looking at Wyoming wage disparities, she thinks we need a new one.

Connolly, “I want the Department of Workforce Services to do a good study. They are, under the bill, obligated to do reports for two different committees. Those committees then will be tasked with choosing to implement some of the suggestions that study comes up with.”

She also said this could be a prelude to a future bill erasing the wage gap, if evidence shows there truly is one.

Representative Barlow, “How do we ever address it from policy making entity, as the legislature, if there is a way to address it. How do we do those things if we don't actually have the basis and good information to move forward with?”

The wage disparity report from DFS would have to be complete by October 1st 2018.

Connolly said she's incredibly passionate about this bill and topic.

“Where and why that wage gap occurs, so that then we can do something about it and we can have targeted information that's in relation to Wyoming,” said Connolly.

The bill passed its second reading easily in the House Tuesday.

The bill will now move on to its third reading. Connolly expects the bill to pass the House this week.