Democrats in the Texas legislature accused Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Friday of vetoing a bill that would have given women more chances to fight pay discrimination, the Dallas Morning News reported.
The measure, HB 950, would have allowed women to sue their employers in state court beyond the current 180-day period after receiving a paycheck they claim was unfair and sue for two years of discriminatory payments. It passed in the state House in April 2013 and the state Senate in May 2013. But a spokesperson for state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, who wrote the House version of the bill, said she was told by Perry’s office that he struck it down.
“I am very surprised that Governor Perry does not see the value in it,” state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) told the News. Davis introduced the Senate version of the bill.
Davis also told the Houston Chronicle that Perry vetoed the bill because it mirrored the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act, a federal law passed in 2009. She questioned that reasoning in a press conference on Saturday, citing the bill’s provision allowing plaintiffs to sue in a state district court.
“These courts are less burdensome financially and are presided over by a judge elected by Texans, and consisting of a jury of their peers” Davis said at the press conference.
By vetoing the bill, Davis said, Perry showed “a callous disregard for the wages that are required to support Texas families.”
The state Supreme Court ruled in August 2012 (PDF) that the Lily Ledbetter Act may not be integrated into the state Commission on Human Rights Act.
Perry’s office did not comment on the allegations. According to the Chronicle, he has until Sunday to issue vetos.
Listen to Davis’ statements, posted online by the Chronicle on Friday, below.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
[h/t The Huffington Post]