In the process of killing a proposed “Tennessee Pay Equality Act,” House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee Chair Susan Lynn touted the benefits of stay-at-home mothers and suggested the sponsor, Democratic Rep. John Ray Clemmons of Nashville, was trying to boost business for lawyers such as himself.
So reports Jeff Woods, who includes block quotes of exchanges between Lynn, R-Old Hickory, and Clemmons along with critical commentary of the chair and Republican legislators generally.
Lynn said…”I delayed finishing my college education because of raising my children, then I chose jobs that were close to their school. Because I wanted to be available for my family. And I know lots of women who make those choices, and thank God women make those choices. Children need their parents, particularly their mother.”
Clemmons replied, “Thank God you had the opportunity to make the choices you made. A lot of women across Tennessee don’t have the opportunity to make that choice. They’re working one, two, three jobs to support their families. They don’t have the opportunity to make the choices you were able to make.”
…Lynn: This proposed state law, it would be extremely litigious, wouldn’t it? It would probably be very litigious. Would this not stand to benefit you, as an attorney, personally as an attorney?
Clemmons: Stand to benefit me as an attorney? No, it would stand to benefit women with equal pay.
Lynn: Would it stand to bring you more business as an attorney possibly because this is a very litigious bill? It really is.
…Clemmons: I appreciate the question. That’s a good point. It’s not a fair point and it’s not an accurate point. But just like any law that creates a civil rights action, laws are only as litigious as they are violated. So if every employer paid women equally there’d be no cause of action and no need for litigation…. It’s not to create business for me. It’s not to create business for my colleagues. It is to protect women. It is to bring our state into the year 2016 and make sure that women are treated equally to men and paid equally to men.
The bill (HB1947) was killed on a party line vote; Democrats for it, Republicans against.