Over the weekend, the liberal Alliance for a Better Minnesota blasted Rep. Andrea Kieffer, R-Woodbury, for remarks she made about the Women's Economic Security Act during a House hearing last week.
"These bills are putting us backwards in time," Kieffer said. "We are losing the respect that we so dearly want in the workplace by bringing up all these special bills for women and almost making us look like whiners."
Here's raw audio of Kieffer's "whiners" remark:
The Women's Economic Security Act is actually a package of measures. Information on the House of Representative's website outlines the key ones:
-- Closing the gender pay gap, requiring private businesses that contract with the state to report on pay equity within their workforce [On average, women make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, according to House-provided info].In a press release, the ABM's Steph Fenner says "there's nothing 'whiny' about fair pay and economic security for Minnesota women." (ABM is circulating a petition denouncing Kieffer's remarks -- you can sign it here.)
-- Increasing income for working women and their families by increasing the minimum wage to $9.50.
-- Expanding access to high-quality, affordable childcare.
-- Expanding family and sick leave for working families, including paid sick and safe leave and expanding unpaid leave under the Minnesota Parental Leave Act.
-- Enhance protections for victims of domestic violence.
-- Encouraging women in non-traditional, high-wage jobs and support growth for women-owned small businesses.
"Demanding that women get equal pay for equal work and a fair shot in Minnesota's economy isn't whining. It's common sense," Fenner writes. "Women deserve the same economic opportunities as men, it's as simple as that."
Kieffer, who was one of four House Republicans to vote in favor of marriage equality, didn't respond to a voicemail and email seeking comment. In November, she announced she won't be seeking a third term in office, in part because she has a daughter with mitochondrial disease.
Meanwhile, the Women's Economic Security Act -- which was authored in the House by Rep. Carly Melin, D-Hibbing, the same legislator who is leading the effort to legalize medical marijuana -- is scheduled to be the subject of a House Jobs and Economic Development Committee hearing this Thursday.