The Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover reports on the death yesterday afternoon of two bills meant to help women in Colorado close the persistent gap in earnings between themselves and their male colleagues in the GOP-controlled Senate State Affairs Committee:
Three men voted over the objections of two other men Wednesday to kill the two major efforts of the 2016 Colorado Legislature’s session aimed at shrinking the gap in pay between women and men.
After lengthy debates the past two weeks in the House of Representatives on the subject, the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee quickly dispatched of a pair of proposals aimed at ensuring that state contractors follow federal equal-pay laws and to ban employers from asking the salary history of job applicants. Both died on 3-2 party-line votes of Republicans over Democrats…
You’ve got to love the stock photo Sealover included with his story, which tells the story all by itself:
Although pay equity is a problem nationally even 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act in the early 1960s, statistics show the problem is in fact worse in the state of Colorado than the national average. In Colorado, women earn an average of 78 cents on the dollar their male counterparts make–a gap that advocates say can’t be explained away by the usual presumptions about the lives of women made by…well, made by men.
The Senate State Affairs Committee’s all-male Republican majority included Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, the very same GOP Senator who had apologized just a couple of days earlier for referring to a female Senate colleague as “eye candy” during debate on a moribund bill to tax corporate earnings stashed away in overseas tax havens. The same female Senator in fact presented the second of the two bills that died yesterday, the irony of which dripped from the hearing even though no one had the boldness to say it into a hot mic.
Nationally, as we know from the headlines, women voters are in the process of being repelled en masse by Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. Trump just yesterday committed perhaps the worst in a seemingly endless procession of woman-alienating gaffes, suggesting and then retreating from the suggestion that women should receive “some form of punishment” for having an abortion. Trump’s gleeful sexist attacks on any woman with the temerity to question him have given him favorability numbers among women somewhere in the post-execution Ted Bundy range. Even if Trump self-destructs in the next few weeks, he has ripped open one of the GOP’s biggest scabs–and we feel pretty confident that Ted Cruz won’t be able to heal it.
Bottom line: if you can’t make the connection for voters from Trump’s over-the-top sexism to Jerry Sonnenberg’s “eye candy,” you should get out of politics. The fractured Republican presidential race is increasingly forecast to have serious downticket implications for Republicans, putting the U.S. Senate, and in some more boostery Democratic circles, even the U.S. House in play.
If we were a Republican under Colorado’s Gold Dome, we’d be every bit as nervous.