This afternoon, Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassan, joined 13 other senators in voting against Women's Economic Security Act. The bill passed by a 51-14 margin and now heads to conference committee.
We wouldn't single out Ortman's if it wasn't for the fact that just last week the U.S. Senate hopeful made a big deal out of a ridiculous, secretly recorded video of Al Franken where he presses traffic cones against his chest as though they're boobs.
Ortman used the video to create a Facebook petition. She claimed the footage shows Franken "still doesn't take women seriously" and asked people to "sign the petition if you agree this isn't funny." (The Facebook page that hosted that petition now hosts a "repeal Obamacare" one.)
-- $1 million in grants awarded to organizations that help women land high-wage nontraditional jobs and to assist female entrepreneurs.But in an op-ed she recently penned for the Chaska Herald, Ortman argues none of that is necessary since "It is already illegal for employers to pay women less than men for the same work."
-- Requires businesses with more than 40 employees bidding on high-dollar state contracts to obtain an equal pay certificate of compliance to ensure they're in compliance with existing laws.
-- Bans punishment or retaliation against employees who discuss their how much they make.
-- Requires employers to provide a place other than a bathroom for nursing mothers to pump milk.
-- Extends unpaid maternity leave from six to 12 weeks, extends use of sick leave to caring for grandchildren.
-- Extends unemployment benefits to workers forced to quit their jobs as a result of sexual assault or stalking.
"We should focus our efforts on the unacceptable fact that 4.7 million women are unemployed," Ortman writes. "The law is already on the side of protecting women against workplace discrimination; we have the power to sue for damages in federal or state court, or seek investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission."
Nuanced arguments aside, the DFL has already taken the opportunity to blast Ortman's Women's Act in a press release entitled, "Ortman turns her back on women."
"Extreme conservative Julianne Ortman strikes again, this time at the expense of women and working families in Minnesota," DFL Communications Director Ellen M. Perrault says. "Ortman's opposition to bipartisan, commonsense protections against gender discrimination in the workplace is disgraceful. She is beyond out of touch with Minnesota voters."