Addressing an ominbus bill containing economic measures aimed at helping working women, a female member of the Minnesota State Legislature worried that such laws make women "look like whiners."
Speaking to her colleagues, State Rep. Andrea Kieffer (R) raised concerns that women stood to lose "respect" over "special bills for women." according to an audio provided by the Alliance For A Better Minnesota, as reported by the Huffington Post.
"We heard several bills last week about women's issues and I kept thinking to myself, these bills are putting us backwards in time," said State Rep. Andrea Kieffer (R). "We are losing the respect that we so dearly want in the workplace by bringing up all these special bills for women and almost making us look like whiners."
The Minnesota Women's Economic Security Act contains measures aimed at helping working women by raising the minimum wage to $9.50 and increasing protections for women from discrimination in the workplace and unfair pay.
The bill would also expand access to affordable childcare and paid sick and family leave, enhance protections for victims of domestic and sexual violence and encourage female's entrepreneur’s business development in traditionally male-dominated industries.
Responding to Kieffer's comments, Minnesota House Majority Leader Erin Murphy (D) emailed the Huffington Post: “In Minnesota, women earn 80 cents on the dollar to their male counterparts," she said. "That is not whining. That is a reality that we should not accept.
The minimum wage bill, passed on a party-line vote last year in both chambers, is currently in conference committee.
Supporters of the omnibus bill are expecting it to pass, despite Republican opposition.
Listen to audio below: