Today marks the day women finally catch up to amount of money men in the same job were paid in 2016. It’s a sad thing to still have to recognize, but facts are facts: women still aren’t earning as much as our male counterparts.
· Or, as Florida Democratic House Leader Janet Cruz put it, “I want my whole damn dollar.” Amen.
Democrats in almost 40 states have introduced bills aiming to remedy this equal pay disparity. Republicans remain reluctant to get on board – both at the state and federal levels.
But nevermind equal pay – what about equal attention?
That’s all Minnesota Democratic House Leader Melissa Hortman asked of her colleagues on Monday when, upon noticing that a group of white male legislators were hanging out in a meeting room instead of listening to the floor speeches women lawmakers were giving against a bill intended to crack down on protests.
So Leader Hortman moved to force the absent group of “100 percent white male” state lawmakers return to the House floor to hear debate on this important bill.
“I’m a white male,” state Rep. Bob Dettmer (R) said. “I respect everybody. But I really believe the comments that were made by the minority leader were really not appropriate. Minority leader, would you apologize to the body?”
To borrow a phrase… nevertheless, she persisted.
Representative Dettmer, I'm glad you asked me to yield. I have no intention of apologizing. I am so tired of watching Rep. Susan Allen give an amazing speech, Rep. Peggy Flanagan give an amazing speech, watching Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn give an amazing speech, Rep. Rena Moran give the most heartfelt, incredible speech I've heard on this House floor…, watching Rep. Ilhan Omar give an amazing speech... and looking around, to see, where are my colleagues? And I went in the retiring room, and I saw where a bunch of my colleagues were. And I'm really tired of watching women of color, in particular, being ignored. So, I'm not sorry."
That thump you heard from up north on Monday afternoon was the sound of a mic dropping.
And how about those Tar Heels? [[ducks]]
In news less directly related to women, Republicans in the North Carolina legislature still just can’t get past the fact that the state’s voters replaced their GOP governor with a Democrat last fall.
First, statehouse Republicans passed a bunch of bills directly aimed at usurping Democratic Gov. McCory’s authority over election boards.
- Previously, the NC State Board of Elections consisted of five members appointed by the governor. The law GOPers passed in December expanded the board to eight members, four of which are appointed by the governor, two “of the political party with the highest number of registered affiliates” and two of the “party with the second highest number of registered affiliates.” So, under a Democratic governor, we were at 2 D/2 R.
- The House and Senate each got to appoint two members, one from each party. Again, 2 D/2 R. So instead of the 3-2 split the board would have had under a Democratic governor, this expanded board was split evenly, 4 D/4 R
- But in deciding disputes and resolving issues, a simple majority of five of the eight votes of this new board won’t get you squat. According to this law, “a majority vote for action shall require six of the eight members.”
- …which is basically a recipe for perpetual gridlock and inaction.
- The chairmanship of the Board would have flipped parties each year. Based on current party registration numbers, a Democrat would’ve chaired the board in odd years, and a Republican would’ve held the reigns in even years.
Fun fact! With the exception of a handful of school boards and municipalities, ALL ELECTIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA ARE HELD IN EVEN YEARS.
· Additionally, under a Democratic governor, local electoral boards should be 2 D/1 R. This law split them at 2 D/2 R.
o This is an especially big deal in light of the outsized role local election boards played in voter suppression attempts in the 2016 election.
But on March 17, a state court ruled that the laws that undercut the Democratic governor’s authority over election boards (again, the same ones Republicans used to disenfranchise voters last fall) violated the state’s separation-of-powers provision.
But North Carolina Republicans just can’t get past their apparently terminal case of sore-loseritis.
Today, Republicans in the House Elections Committee approved a measure that does the same thing to the partisan makeup of electoral boards as the law tossed by the court a little over two weeks ago. The bill is being fast-tracked to the House floor for a full vote.
I wonder why Republicans are so scared of Democratic-majority election boards that won’t suppress voting rights?