Negotiations between business community representatives and worker representatives are ongoing. Labor-backed HB 1116 went as far as the House Rules Committee, and SB 5149, a proposal friendlier to business, was introduced in the Senate. The issue polls well statewide, and failure to find a legislative solution will likely result in a statewide initiative.
SB 5285 requires the workforce training and education coordinating board to conduct a workforce assessment for the agriculture, natural resources, outdoor recreation, and environment sectors to assess the available data on current and projected employment levels and hiring demand for skilled mid-level workers in those sectors. The bill passed both chambers and was signed into law on May 4.
Below are summaries and status reports (as of Feb. 21, 2017) of the equal pay bills that we have been closely following.
HB 1506 – Addressing Workplace Practices to Achieve Gender Pay Equity: This bill revises the state’s equal pay laws but adds additional penalties above wage recovery and multiple causes of action – both of which we are concerned about. The bill passed the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee and has received a hearing in House Appropriations. It has not been schedule for executive action.
SB 5836 – Enhancing Enforcement of the Equal Pay Act: The issue of gender pay equity is one that will continue to be negotiated throughout the remainder of the session. This bill is a title-only bill that passed out of the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee. The committee heard testimony on other bills but decided to pass this bill as a vehicle for possible compromise language.