First Bills from Package of Women’s Legislation Filed

Equal pay, Title IX coordinator information and remote testifying introduced in General Assembly

DOVER – Three bills from an 11-bill package women legislators announced this week have been filed in the House of Representatives and Senate.

On Tuesday, House and Senate female lawmakers from both sides of the aisle unveiled a series of proposals crafted to address a host of issues that impact Delaware women every day in their workplaces, doctors’ offices, homes and schools. The legislation focuses on three major areas where reform is needed for Delaware women: justice and public safety, health care and employment.

Thursday, House Majority Leader Rep. Valerie Longhurst introduced House Bill 3, which would mandate that any company awarded a state contract certify that it engages in fair wage practices and will provide its employees with equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender.

“Last week, many of us gathered for a press conference marking Equal Pay Day. Several women, including some legislators, spoke about the challenges they have faced in receiving equal pay for equal work,” said Rep. Longhurst, D-Delaware City. “By requiring state contractors to certify that they are paying men and women equally, we are taking a step in the right direction to address the wage inequality that exists in our society.”

Also introduced Thursday was House Bill 81, sponsored by Rep. Melanie George Smith, which would add to the existing education profile reports compiled by the state Department of Education the name and contact information for a federal Title IX coordinator for every public school, including public institutions of higher learning.

Wednesday, another bill from the package was introduced in the Senate. Senate Bill 51, sponsored by Sen. Karen Peterson, would allow, at a judge’s discretion, for a victim or witness to appear at required court proceedings and give testimony via videoconference from a separate location. Currently, Delaware law allows children less than 11 years of age to testify via closed-circuit television with a judge’s permission.