Progress Virginia Strongly Condemns Republican Senators Flip Flop on Equal Pay
Richmond, VA—After unanimously supporting a proposal to strengthen Virginia’s Equal Pay law in Senate Commerce and Labor as well as reporting the bill out of Senate Finance on an 11-5 vote, Republican Senators today reversed course on SB419. Senators inexplicably claimed they simply hadn’t read the bill closely before voting for it. Twice.
Progress Virginia today strongly condemned the actions, led by Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment and released the following statement from executive director Anna Scholl.
“Women deserve to be treated with respect in society and in the work place. Today, Senate Republicans have refused to do either. Women deserve equal pay for equal work. Period. Either members of the Senate Republican caucus aren’t reading legislation before twice voting on it or they are playing political games with women’s livelihoods. Both are unacceptable. Tommy Norment and his caucus owe the women of Virginia an apology and their vote for commonsense legislation to protect equality in the workplace.”
Every Republican member of the Senate Commerce and Labor committee voted for SB419 on January 22nd, after hearing testimony from business interests against the legislation. Yesterday, February 6, the Senate Finance Committee voted to report SB419 on an 11-5 vote. Senators Norment and Newman flipped their votes. After bill patron Jennifer Wexton left the hearing, Senator Norment moved to reconsider the vote and claw back SB419. This morning, after hearing the same testimony on the bill that they heard in Senate Commerce and Labor, Republican Senators raised objections to women suing to obtain equal pay when they learn they’re being discriminated against in the workplace and rejected SB419 on a 11-5 vote. Only Republican Senator Jill Vogel joined with Democrats in continuing to support the bill.
Republican Senators Frank Wagner, Ryan McDougle, Richard Stuart, and Mark Obenshain voted for SB419 twice before reversing their vote. Republican Senators Tommy Norment, Steve Newman, Bill Carrico, Siobhan Dunnavant, and Frank Ruff voted once for SB419 before reversing their vote.