It was a fast and furious week at the Legislature!
Appropriations marked up the budget, the Senate kept pace, the House fell behind, and a few bills that would have been good for women's economic security and economic development in the Equality State failed the Committee of the Whole.
Fortunately, lots of good bills survived and advanced. So we're spending the MLK/Wyoming Equality Day weekend tracking bills that affect you. We're also taking this opportunity to issue a reminder from the National Women's Community, comprised of 63 women's organization, who reached out to the US Congress this week:
"At this critical moment for our nation, we urge the 116th U.S. Congress to prioritize legislation that directly addresses women’s needs and concerns regarding equal pay and workplace fairness, violence prevention, health care and reproductive rights, and equity, safety and opportunity for marginalized people and communities ... The priorities we outline here highlight legislative steps that would have an immediate positive impact on the lives of women and girls across the country while also laying a strong foundation for future legislative actions that enable all women, girls and families to thrive."
The legislation that follows, that we support (and oppose), is predicated on priorities that enable all women, girls, and families to thrive. Here is a list of BILLS WE SUPPORT and their current status.
On the floor:
Wage equity is an issue of economic security for women and their families and a key driver for economic development in the state. Ensuring that state funds support women equally can help to drive this economic development. Scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, January 22nd.
This is a joint resolution recognizing December 10, 2019 as Wyoming Women's Suffrage Day.
This bill spells out Wyoming's heritage as the Equality State and encourages more people to learn that history. Scheduled for 2nd reading on Tuesday, January 22nd.
This bill ensures that biological materials, commonly known as rape kits, must be tested.
This bill supports victims' rights. Scheduled for 3rd reading on Tuesday, January 22nd.
This bill would prohibit employers from seeking or relying on salary history for a prospective employee. Research demonstrates that salary history contributes to the perpetuation of the gender wage gap. Scheduled for House Corporations, TBD.
There are existing gaps in federal laws that are confusing for employers and problematic for employees. This not only supports the health of pregnant women, but is also good for business by clarifying the requirements. Scheduled for House Corporations, TBD.
Bills that have passed through their chamber of origin:
This bill will increase the penalty--from $200 to $500--for an employer who violates Wyoming's equal pay provisions. This bill is an important first step in support of women's economic security. This bill is Engrossed and will be moving over to the Senate! Schedule TBD.
Bills that have been received for introduction:
This bill would ensure that the state of Wyoming includes sexual assault as a reason to terminate parental rights. This is an important effort on behalf of victims' rights and the bill is supported by the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault in its current form. Received for introduction.
WE OPPOSE these bills because they fundamentally alter the relationship between healthcare provider and patient by allowing the state to insert itself into the process.
Accessible healthcare is important for everyone in Wyoming. This sets the precedent that a patient should be required by the state to wait for care that the healthcare provider and the patient has deemed appropriate. This has a negative economic impact as working women will need to take additional time off of work. Scheduled for House Judiciary Tuesday, January 22nd upon noon adjournment.
This bill requires doctors to report healthcare and personal details--like marital status--that could compromise patient privacy. It includes hysterectomies in with abortions and calls for significant penalties for doctors who do not report in a timely fashion. Received for introduction.
Here's our parting thought to you:
In many places, Martin Luther King Day is a day of service. It is an opportunity to step out and serve your community. This MLK/Wyoming Equality Day, we're asking you to reach across the Equality State and raise the profile of these bills.
What is good for women is good for Wyoming.
Spread the word! Contact your legislators! This MLK/Wyoming Equality Day, let them know these issues matter for the health of the Equality State!