Mid-Missouri business owners encourage equal pay

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COLUMBIA - The seventh anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act brought new executive actions from the White House.  The act was the first piece of legislation President Barack Obama signed when he took office.

The Missouri Legislature discussed equal pay legislation on January 28th.

"My legislation, HB2404, would require the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to establish an equal pay commission to study the full impact of the wage gap in both the public and private sectors.  We need that information to highlight the full disparity as we implement recommendations designed to protect women of wage inequities," said State Representative Stacey Newman, D- Richmond Heights.

KOMU 8 spoke to people in downtown Columbia on Friday who said they are in support of equal pay. Newman said most of the opposition comes from the state and national Chamber of Commerce.

In 2009, the US Chamber of Commerce submitted a letter to the United States Senate explaining its opposition saying, "the Chamber's concerns (is) that this legislation would dramatically expand the number of frivolous and otherwise questionable cases that could be brought against employers. The Senate would be well served to further examine this bill and properly consider alternative approaches through the Committee process."  

KOMU 8 talked to two local business owners who said they pay their employees who have the same job the same wage regardless of gender.

Nickie Davis, owner of Muse clothing in downtown Columbia says equal pay is "incredibly important" and it "motivates employees" when they are paid the same amount for the same work.

Multiple Missouri legislators spoke out about equal pay as part of "Equal Pay Can't Week" citing women only make 79 cents to every dollar a man makes and minority women are paid even less.