Bills to create a Tennessee minimum wage and require “equality pay” for women were killed in a Republican-controlled House subcommittee last week with Democrats complaining the measures — similar to legislation regularly defeated in past years — did not get an appropriate hearing.
Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, brought the “Tennessee Pay Equality Act” (HB1947) before the House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee, accompanied by Dia Cirillo of Murfreesboro, public policy chair of American Association of University Women in Tennessee.
Cirillo testified that 70 percent of Tennessee women have outside-the-home jobs and, on average, make about 83 cents on the dollar compared to men in the same positions.
The subcommittee chair, Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Old Hickory, took the lead in criticizing the measure. She contended that the “pay gap” between men and women is already narrowing, that federal law on the subject is adequate and that some pay differences are the result of “life choices that women make” — citing herself as a “perfect example” — that give priority to family over careers.