**UPDATE: The vote on this bill has been postponed. The committee will pick it up again at a later date. So keep those calls coming! Because it’s no longer time-sensitive, please feel free to send an email or snail mail letter, too. I’ve added links to the Senators’ homepages so you have easy access to their contact information.**
You may know that Texas courts have decided that the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for workers who have experienced pay discrimination to pursue claims in court, doesn’t apply here barring action by the Legislature.
Sen. Wendy Davis rose to the challenge and recently filed SB 248 to change Texas law to provide uniformity between state and federal laws and to allow workers to file in state court, which is less expensive, and also easier to access, as federal courts are far fewer and far away from many folks. This is an important step toward pay equity in Texas, and we need everyone to show their support for this bill!
The bill is scheduled to be heard in this morning’s Senate Economic Development Committee hearing at 8:00AM TODAY in the Senate Chamber. This got scheduled quite last-minute, which often indicates the opposition is hoping the late notice will compromise our ability to organize around it. Let’s prove them wrong!
If you’re in Austin and have some time this morning, go to the Capitol and make your voice heard! It might seem intimidating, but it’s not. Here’s what you do.
- Make your way to the Capitol. The nice folks at the State Preservation Board have this handy map for you. If you’re driving, the visitor parking garage is probably your best option.
- Go to the Senate Chamber. If you have any trouble finding your way around, ask a State Trooper.
- Look at the back of the room for a table with forms on it. Fill one of them out and indicate that you support the bill.
- Give the form to the committee clerk. If you’re running short on time, this is all you need to do and you can leave if you like.
- If you have time, sign up to speak! You’ll have three minutes to let the committee know why you support the bill. Do write something down, so you don’t get lost if you’re nervous up there, and take a moment to practice.
If you’re not in Austin or you don’t have time to go to the Capitol, you can work the phones for equal pay! The Senators on the committee are the ones to work the hardest right now. If you’re a constituent of one of these folks, please give them a call! If you don’t know who represents you, go to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/ to find out.
The committee members are:
- Sen. Bob Deuell – SD 2- Mesquite, Rockwall, Terrell, Greenville – (512) 463-0102
- Sen. Kelly Hancock – SD 9 – Keller, N Richland Hills, Haltom City, Euless, parts of Arlington, Irving, Grand Prairie – (512) 463-0109
- Sen. Brian Birdwell – SD 22 – Waco – (512) 463-0122
- Sen. Wendy Davis – SD 10 – Ft Worth – (512) 463-0110 **It’s her bill, so just say thanks and that you support the bill
- Sen. Kevin Eltife – SD 1 – Tyler, Longview, Texarkana – (512) 463-0101
- Sen. Troy Fraser – SD 24 – Abilene, Brownwood, Belton, Fredericksburg, Killeen, Kerrville, Temple – (512) 463-0124
- Sen. Kirk Watson – SD14 – Austin, Bastrop – (512) 463-0114
Below the fold is a suggested script to follow when you call.
PLEASE pass along to your friends, family, and networks, especially anyone you know who lives in these areas, and let them know to call their Senators as soon as possible and urge them to support SB 248, an important step toward equal pay for Texas women.
What to do when you call
- Ask for the staffer who works on economic development
- Tell them if you are a constituent
- Keep it short and polite. Let them know that SB 248 is being considered in the Senate Economic Development Committee and you urge them to support it.
- Pick one or two of the following facts to explain why you support this bill.
- The wage gap hits low-wage workers the hardest. A woman who did not finish high school who works full-time, year-round, makes on average only 71% what her male peers make. Women who do the hard work that keeps our society moving, like cleaning, providing care in our hospitals and nursing homes, and cooking and serving our food, deserve to be paid equally and fairly.
- The wage gap hits women of color disproportionately hard. Here in Texas, Black women make only 58.8% what a white male does, and Hispanic/Latina women make just 44.4%. Texas ranks 40th in pay equity for Black women and 46th for Hispanic/Latina women. We’re worse than Oklahoma on both! Surely we can’t allow that.
- Fair and equal pay can help women get out of poverty, which is good for them and for Texas’ bottom line. When employers pay people what they are worth, families do better, workers need less aid from the state, and Texas has a stronger workforce.
5. Thank them for their time.
Thank YOU for fighting for economic justice NOW!