Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) quietly signed a bill last night that repeals a law that gave women and others more power to challenge wage discrimination. The Equal Pay Enforcement Act, passed in 2009, gave employers more power to press charges against employers to challenge unfair pay practices, allowing people to plead their case in state courts, instead of the more costly federal court system.
The state legislature passed the Republican-backed repeal bill on party-line votes last week, and Walker waited until almost the last possible minute before signing it. As the Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel explains, the Equal Pay Enforcement Act could have helped women in the badger state:
Women earn 77 cents for every dollar that men make. In Wisconsin, it’s 75 cents, according to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH), which also estimates that families in the state “lose more than $4,000 per year due to unequal pay.” [...]
Sara Finger, executive director of WAWH, said that the repeal was a “demoralizing attack on women’s rights, health, and wellbeing.” “Economic security is a women’s health issue,” she said. “The salary women are paid directly affects the type and frequency of health care services they are able to access. At a time when women’s health services are becoming more expensive and harder to obtain, financial stability is essential to maintain steady access.”