After some time spent on what, exactly, constitutes "new technology" in hunting, the 52 men and 8 women in the Wyoming House settled in for discussions about two bills taking steps to try to tackle the persistent and pernicious wage gap issue in Wyoming.
The Speaker yielded to Committee Chair Sue Wilson who explained that the House Labor/Health Committee recommended a vote of Do Pass on both bills. She yielded the floor to Minority Leader Connolly, whose expertise on the issue of the gender wage gap is unrivaled among our state legislators. Minority Leader Connolly provided robust context for the R&P Wage Gap Report (a favorite over here at the Action Network) and for the two bills before the Committee of the Whole.
For blow-by-blow details on how the debate unfolded, check out our twitter feed. Suffice it to say, some of the 52 men and 8 women elected to represent us had some questions.
Minority Leader Connolly did an excellent job dispelling myths--for example the (almost perpetual) myth that this report mistakenly asserts that Wyoming has a wage gap because it compares women who work desk jobs in offices with men who work field jobs that, of course, are not comparable and have higher pay. Rep. Connolly explained that, in fact, the report takes differences into consideration and does 15 regression analyses (wondering what that means? here's an explainer) to account for that and, in an additional 80 cases, were able to consider and compare substantially similar jobs.
Shorter: The economists who conducted the study controlled for variables like job, tenure, experience, training and still found a huge wage gap.
The floor debate continued. They called the question. HB0071 passed the Committee of the Whole. HB0072 did not pass--by a very close vote: 27-32-1-0.
And then, hours later, something (seemingly) magical happened: Round about 4:58pm, just shy of adjournment, HB0072 returned. An "aye" vote would confine it to this year's dustbin. A "no" vote would resurrect it (so to speak) and place it back on General File.
We held our collective breath. We got texts from all over the state. We had people in cars calling in so they could listen to it on speaker phone from our office computer. The clerk called the roll.
We are sad to report, the vote tally was worse than before. HB0072 did not live to fight another day.
But do not despair! Get your emailing fingers ready: HB0084 is on the docket for tomorrow and HB0178--an awesome salary history bill!--was received for introduction.
We have work to do, Wyoming!
For the sake of our families and our state, we need to be up to the task.