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Hot List: Day 109 of the Legislature

by Published on
Texas State Capitol in Austin, Tex.
Patrick Michels
Texas State Capitol

The Lead:

The continuing battle against discrimination in the workplace spread to the House floor on Thursday. House members grew emotional  discussing Rep. Senfronia Thompson’s bill that would align Texas lawsuit practices with the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The talk shifted from a calm discussion on the bill to an impassioned debate on equal rights for women. Women reps from both parties banded together in support of the proposal, which eventually passed on a vote of 79 to 50.

The Senate is gone for the weekend. But the House will meet today and will vote on a $875 million supplemental spending bill that will augment state programs through August of this year. The bill, HB 1025, includes $500 million in public school funds.

Yesterday’s Headlines:

1. The House will soon hear a rapidly moving bill aimed at limiting political influence over state funding for technology projects. Good for transparency, not so good for Gov. Perry, whose Emerging Technology Fund has had an affinity for distributing grants to campaign contributors and friends of the governor.

2. The Austin American-Statesman reports that a bill to finance water infrastructure projects, one of the session’s major proposals, may not pass the House on Monday. The bill would steer $2 billion to finance the state water plan.

3. The Senate voted in favor of a bill that would require University of Texas regents to promptly respond to open records requests.

Line of the Day:

“We’ve had enough Bushes … It’s not just four families, or whatever.” —Former First Lady Barbara Bush, speaking from Dallas on the “Today” show on Thursday, responding to a question on whether her son and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would run for president in 2016.

What We’re Watching Today:

1. The House vote on a $875 million state spending bill today. The bill includes $500 million to be allotted for public schools.

  • Jerry Boggs

    Re: Rep. Senfronia Thompson’s bill

    Probably most of women’s pay-equity advocates think employers are greedy profiteers who’d hire only illegal immigrants for their lower labor cost if they could get away with it. Or move their business to a cheap-labor country to save money. Or replace older workers with younger ones for the same reason. So why do these same advocates think employers would NOT hire only women if, as they say, employers DO get away with paying females at a lower rate than males for the same work?

    Here’s one of countless examples showing that some of the most sophisticated women in the country choose to earn less while getting paid at the same rate as their male counterparts:

    “In 2011, 22% of male physicians and 44% of female physicians worked less than full time, up from 7% of men and 29% of women from Cejka’s 2005 survey.”

    A thousand laws won’t close that gap.

    In fact, no law yet has closed the gender wage gap — not the 1963 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, not Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, not the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, not affirmative action (which has benefited mostly white women, the group most vocal about the wage gap –, not the 1991 amendments to Title VII, not the 1991 Glass Ceiling Commission created by the Civil Rights Act, not the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, not diversity, not the countless state and local laws and regulations, not the thousands of company mentors for women, not the horde of overseers at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and not the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which is another feel-good bill that turned into another do-nothing law (good intentions do not necessarily make things better; sometimes, the path to a worse condition is paved with good intentions)…. Nor will a “paycheck fairness” law work.

    That’s because women’s pay-equity advocates, who always insist one more law is needed, continue to overlook the effects of female AND male behavior:

    Despite the 40-year-old demand for women’s equal pay, millions of wives still choose to have no pay at all. In fact, according to Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of “The Secrets of Happily Married Women,” stay-at-home wives, including the childless who represent an estimated 10 percent, constitute a growing niche. “In the past few years,” he says in a CNN report at, “many women who are well educated and trained for career tracks have decided instead to stay at home.” (“Census Bureau data show that 5.6 million mothers stayed home with their children in 2005, about 1.2 million more than did so a decade earlier….” at If indeed a higher percentage of women is staying at home, perhaps it’s because feminists and the media have told women for years that female workers are paid less than men in the same jobs — so why bother working if they’re going to be penalized and humiliated for being a woman.)

    As full-time mothers or homemakers, stay-at-home wives earn zero. How can they afford to do this while in many cases living in luxury? Answer: Because they’re supported by their husband, an “employer” who pays them to stay at home. (Far more wives are supported by a spouse than are husbands.)

    The implication of this is probably obvious to most 12-year-olds but seems incomprehensible to or is ignored by feminists and the liberal media: If millions of wives are able to accept NO wages, millions of other wives, whose husbands’ incomes vary, are more often able than husbands to:

    -accept low wages

    -refuse overtime and promotions

    -choose jobs based on interest first, wages second — the reverse of what men tend to do

    -take more unpaid days off

    -avoid uncomfortable wage-bargaining (

    -work fewer hours than their male counterparts, or work less than full-time instead of full-time (as in the above example regarding physicians)

    Any one of these job choices lowers women’s median pay relative to men’s. And when a wife makes one of the choices, her husband often must take up the slack, thereby increasing HIS pay.

    Women who make these choices are generally able to do so because they are supported — or, if unmarried, anticipate being supported — by a husband who feels pressured to earn more than if he’d chosen never to marry. (Married men earn more than single men, but even many men who shun marriage, unlike their female counterparts, feel their self worth is tied to their net worth.) This is how MEN help create the wage gap: as a group they tend more than women to pass up jobs that interest them for ones that pay well.

    More in “Will the Ledbetter Act Help Women?” at