Rick Perry Vetoes Equal Pay Bill

Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) vetoed a bill on Friday that would have allowed women suffering wage discrimination to take legal action, alleging that the measure “duplicates federal law, which already allows employees…to file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.” On average, women earn 77 cents of every dollar a man makes, though the disparity is even greater for African American and Hispanic women.

HB 950 builds on the federal Lilly Ledbetter Act, which strengthened women’s ability to challenge pay discrimination. Supporters argued that the state legislation would “provide uniformity between state and federal anti-discrimination laws” and “allow parties to proceed in a nearby state court, while at the same time avoid the increased expense of having to proceed in a federal court which may be far away.” Lilly Ledbetter protections also “do not apply to state cases absent action by the legislature.”

Forty-two states have passed sate-based equal pay laws, recognizing that Lilly Ledbetter was not enough.