SB 359 by state Sen. Jack Donahue started out its legislative life uncontroversially, as a means to tighten penalties for employers that fail to pay wages on time. However, late in the session a good portion of the text of HB 956 was read into it, unanimously. HB 956 would have expanded equal wage protections for women by state law where none existed, essentially by adopting language from the federal Equal Pay Act. As a result, it really only would have had symbolic value, in that the state already had to follow standards at least as protective as the federal law, although states may impose even greater controls in the name of pay equity.
HB 956 had started out its legislative life problematically, as it did not originally include an important passage from 29 U.S.C. 206(d). Lacking that phrasing meant the bill could have served as a vehicle for introducing the noxious notion of “comparable worth” into the state’s jurisprudence. This meant that unequal pay could be alleged on the idea the value of the work depended not upon its actual production and value of it by the marketplace, but upon abstract criteria that ignored these realities. Fortunately, that flaw was amended away.
Yet opponents of the bill, who backed other bills that would have introduced a comparable worth ideology, also didn’t like it for another reason. They maintain a fiction that a labor market not regulated enough causes a pay equity gap that demands sterner regulations, citing the raw statistic that the average salary of all females in Louisiana is about two-thirds of that of all males. In reality, when making a valid comparison of national pay rates by introducing all relevant variables, there is no statistical difference between male and female wages for doing the same level of work, which speaks to the effectiveness of the federal law.
Thus, these deniers stump for the nonsensical notion of “unintentional” discrimination, meaning that markets working even with overt penalties for paying differentially solely on the basis of sex continue to produce the alleged discrepancy, meaning the system had to contain a flaw that permitted this. Besides basing this on the mistaken comparison statistic, note also that the entire concept makes no sense: illegal discrimination is a personal, conscious and chosen act by an individual based upon prejudices deemed unjustifiable by society, meaning it cannot be something impersonally done by a collective in an unconscious fashion with protections in place.
Yet this serves only as a cover for a larger agenda, that of justifying greater control over marketplace decisions in order to enhance the power of government and special interests that can influence it, at the expense of individual liberty as well as of optimal marketplace production. Naturally, this goal never is admitted in backing radical equal pay legislation.
So the amended version of HB 956 really agitated these radicals, because it was drawn only to ensure that state law reflected federal standards that correctly defined illegal discrimination and in place then could serve as an impediment to their true agenda, in that genuine equal pay provisions would be in place with no reason to pursue the matter further. And to a point they succeeded when on May 28 the bill failed to pass out of a Senate committee.
However, HB 956 author state Rep. Valerie Hodges seems to have done her homework, for the next day on the floor of the House state Rep. Joe Lopinto offered an amendment reading the relevant text of her bill into Donahue's, apparently with his blessing, which was adopted unanimously. The next day in the Senate, leftist Democrats plus former Democrat state Sen. Fred Mills apparently got their marching orders from a principal advocate of the radical agenda, head of state Democrats and state Sen. Karen Peterson, to oppose concurrence, but it was sent to Jindal on a 28-10 vote.
Of course, the exposes as a lie some of the bill’s opponents that the language was “snuck” in – the debate in the House and Senate were both open and followed the rules. They also are disingenuous when they claim that “intent” to discriminate is not defined; in fact, it is as by the relevant passages from federal law, but in a way they don’t think it should be, so they disregard that fact and in their rhetoric pretend it doesn’t exist. For her part, Peterson adds to the deception by insinuating the law actually is a retrenchment by comparison (apparently) to a law passed last year that applies only to state employment, not to private sector employment, and that it is a hindrance to equal pay when clearly the federal law on which it is based has helped preserve the opposite.
Again, the facts contradict these attempts to cover up the true objective of the likes of Peterson and points to their inherent hypocrisy. They really aren’t so much interested in fairness in pay as they are in expanding the power of the state in order to pursue more effectively a collectivist agenda, for if they truly did value that equality they would support wholeheartedly a proven law, as verified by the data. And thus meriting Jindal’s signature affixed to the largely symbolic bill, in that having it in state law would make future attempts to change it illuminate the presence of this agenda that is contrary to the public’s wishes and its good.