(Jan. 29) – Rep. Jessie Danielson’s bill to continue the state’s effort to end pay inequities between women and men doing equal work passed its first test today on a party-line 7-6 vote in the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee.

Senate Republicans voted last week to eliminate the state’s Pay Equity Commission, the only forum in Colorado where businesses, employees and community leaders have been coming together to identify the problems of pay inequality and work toward women finally achieving equal pay for equal work.

Rep. Danielson’s bill, HB15-1133, would restore and strengthen the Pay Equity Commission.

“We have an opportunity here to come together as Democrats and Republicans to do the right thing for working families in Colorado,” Rep. Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, told the committee. “Ignoring the problem of pay inequity won’t make it go away. Colorado is relying on us to work together to find solutions that will help grow the middle class so families can pay their bills, send their kids to college and save for the future.”

For hundreds of thousands of Colorado women and their families, pay inequality is a threat to economic security and membership in the middle class. A 50-state federal report released this month found that the pay of Colorado women compared to men in the same jobs has fallen by 2 cents, to 78 cents for every dollar made by men. Colorado lags below the national average, which is 82 cents.

“The problem is actually getting worse, and the need to address it has never been clearer,” Rep. Danielson said. “HB15-1133 will allow the Colorado Pay Equity Commission to continue to serve the people of our state.”

The bill’s next stop is the Appropriations Committee.

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