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One wage equality bill rides out Legislature

The sole survivor among bills offering fixes to the gender wage gap in Wyoming, House Bill 71, passed the Senate on Friday and will now head to the governor’s desk.

The bill would increase penalties for employers who violate equal pay laws. It’s one of three bills introduced in this year’s legislative session to put women on an equal playing field in a state with a reputation for favoring men in the workplace — Wyoming ranks dead last in the country for wage disparity between the genders.

If approved, HB 71 would create harsher punishments for anyone who pays female employees less than their male counterparts for the same work.

Under the current law, the penalty is a fine of up to $200 and 180 days in prison. The amended version would up that to $500 and six months jail time.

As it stands the law states that “Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense,” but the new bill strikes that sentence.

The bill goes next to Gov. Mark Gordon. If he signs it, it will become law on July 1.

– Cody Cottier, Jackson Hole Daily

See JHNewsAndGuide.com/news/legislature for in-depth coverage of the 2019 Legislature now in session. You can also search for a bill and track its progress online by visiting WyoLeg.gov/Legislation/2019.

Contact Cody Cottier at 732-5911, town@jhnewsandguide.com or @JHNGtown.

Cody Cottier covers town and state government. He grew up with a view of the Olympic Mountains, and after graduating Washington State University he traded it for a view of the Tetons. Odds are the mountains are where you’ll find him when not on deadline.

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