Apr 11, 2016 5:22 PM
NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD – Sen. Kelly Ayotte says gender income inequality “is an important issue that unfortunately some women in our country face.”
And New Hampshire’s Republican senator adds “that’s why we need to make sure that we have strong laws in place to address discrimination in the workforce.”
Ayotte spoke out after headlining an equal pay roundtable discussion Monday morning with local business leaders at the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce. At the event, Ayotte announced that she’s re-introducing her Gender Advancement in Pay (GAP) Act. Ayotte touted that her bill “would make clear that employers must pay men and women equal wages for equal work, without reducing the opportunity for employers to reward merit.”
The Republican incumbent’s being challenged as she runs for re-election this year by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan in what’s shaping up as the most high profile Senate showdown in the country. And as Ayotte was holding her roundtable discussion, the New Hampshire Democratic Party charged in an email that the senator’s bill was “sham legislation.”
Ayotte held her event on the eve of Equal Pay Day, the symbolic date that women need to work to catch up to what their male counterparts earned by the end of the previous year.
Ayotte said “what the GAP act does is it actually builds on some of the things done and passed in New Hampshire,” adding that she wanted to commend state lawmakers for their efforts in 2014 in “putting together a sensible solution that we could use as a national model.”
The senator added that while New Hampshire and other states have passed important legislation, “across the nation there’s been a little bit of a patchwork as opposed to a uniform standard.”
Ayotte told the assembled business and human resource leaders that if her bill, which she proposed along with Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, becomes law, “for you as New Hampshire employers there’s really not a huge difference to what you’re already complying with.”
State Democrats criticize Ayotte
The NHDP alleged that Ayotte’s legislation was a move “to cover up” her past voting record on the issue.
“She’s voted four times against the paycheck fairness act which is really a problem. It would imply that she denies that it really exists. And now that it’s an election year I think she’s looking for some cover and sponsoring this bill in an effort to be more in line with where Granite Staters really are,” Democratic state Sen. Donna Soucy told NH1 News.
And Soucy charged that “Sen. Ayotte’s bill attempts to create paycheck fairness but doesn’t in fact do so because employers could preclude their employees from discussing what they make with their fellow employees.”
But Ayotte said that’s not true.
At her round table discussion she said “on the retaliation provision, our provision, in fact we’ve clarified that based on feedback we got about our initial introduction of the bill, to say that employers can’t contract away the rights of employees to discuss their salary.”
Speaking one-on-one with NH1 News, Ayotte defended her measure, and criticized the attacks from the NHDP.
“I based the introduction of this law on what was passed in New Hampshire in 2014. And yet I actually strengthened it, I added civil penalties and also focusing on research on the pay gap and how we can make sure that women can have better paying jobs,” she said.
“Their criticism really rings hollow because the governor herself when she signed this law called it a strong commonsense bipartisan piece of legislation and so I based it on what we did in New Hampshire,” Ayotte added.
And she lamented that “you have it being made a political football again instead of looking for real solutions to a very important issue to women in our state and that’s why I’ve introduced this piece of legislation.”
Gov. Hassan will proclaim Equal Pay Day in New Hampshire at a Tuesday event hosted by Granite State Progress & Education Fund and New Hampshire Citizens Alliance.
According to the governor's office, Hassan will highlight "how pay equity will help boost the economy and strengthen the financial security of working families in the Granite State."
12 hours 46 minutes agoHundreds of residents in the New Ipswich area reported hearing a 'boom' and feeling the ground shake, resembling an explosion, around 9 p.m. Wednesday....
22 hours 38 minutes agoThe woman who posted a photo on Facebook of two men who appear to be doing drugs on a bench hopes that it will...
Jul 26, 2017 7:41 AMThe New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau and the division of state parks has two events planned to help remove invasive plants from Mt. Washington....
19 hours 5 minutes ago
19 hours 49 minutes agoA Stoddard woman who shot and killed her estranged husband in February 2017 will not face any charges. (More)
19 hours 25 minutes agoNew Hampshire transgender woman weighs in on President Trump reinstating ban on transgender people in the military. (More)
Jul 25, 2017 5:28 PMThe AG's Office released videos, dispatch audio and photographs from a private citizen's cell phone of an officer-involved shooting on I-89 in May. (More)
Jul 25, 2017 2:27 PMA NH man was arrested by police Monday and charged with assault for the vicious attack in June on a Planet Fitness employee. (More)
Jul 25, 2017 2:00 PMNew signs put up around the Queen City aim to deter drivers from giving money to panhandlers and instead support resources for the homeless...
Jul 25, 2017 5:42 PM
Jul 24, 2017 4:05 PMA woman accused of trying to steal a 21-month-old girl out of a moving car lost custody of her own 6-month-old son because of...
Jul 24, 2017 3:29 PMRochester police have arrested a man accused of brutally attacking a Planet Fitness employee as she left work for the night. (More)
Jul 24, 2017 12:50 PMA 10-year-old girl has been struck and killed by a vehicle after getting out of a car that had pulled over on the Massachusetts...
Jul 24, 2017 2:36 PMJoe Sharron from Windham was involved in an accident while in Mexico last December. He stopped breathing for 24 minutes and suffered a spinal...
Jul 24, 2017 9:37 AMPolice say Martin De Los Santos was charged with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child. (More)
Jul 24, 2017 7:53 AMA Haverhill, Mass., man is facing charges after police say he shoved the boy while in a ball pit at a party rental space...
Jul 24, 2017 7:26 AMThe home's cluttered interior caused problems for firefighters responding to the early-morning blaze Monday. (More)
Jul 23, 2017 10:53 AMA New Hampshire teen crashed into a tree sending both himself and his passenger to the hospital. (More)
Jul 22, 2017 8:34 PMAccording to Fish and Game officials, one New Hampshire man has been pronounced dead after kayakers find him in the Upper Ammonoosuc River. (More)
Jul 22, 2017 6:20 PMA police officer in New Hampshire was assisted by one local resident when trying to apprehend a fleeing suspect. (More)
Jul 21, 2017 3:56 PMIf you want to make a splash, you should look (at this story) before you leap. (More)
Jul 22, 2017 7:41 PMAuthorities in Massachusetts say a woman has been charged in connection with the death of her boyfriend. (More)
Jul 22, 2017 9:42 AMThe New Hampshire Fish and Game Department says emergency responders have removed the body of a hiker whose body was found in the Dry...
Jul 21, 2017 2:59 PMWhen the next car pulled up to the traffic detail, she frantically told police that a cat was trapped on the roof of the...
Jul 20, 2017 2:34 PMWork has begun on the property that will soon house New Hampshire's newest indoor gun range. (More)
Jul 21, 2017 8:41 AMThunderstorms hit quickly in parts of central and southern NHThursday afternoon, producing wind gusts powerful enough to knock down trees and power lines. (More)
Jul 20, 2017 9:53 AMThe Salem man's suit seeks $5.5 million for punitive damages after his car was towed and stored by a Methuen, Mass., company after an...
Jul 21, 2017 7:37 AMThe body of a New Jersey man who went missing in the White Mountains was found Thursday. (More)
Jul 20, 2017 5:11 PMNearly 4,000 customers are without power. (More)
Jul 20, 2017 4:27 PMAn investigation has determined that a gas-powered generator is to blame for the carbon monoxide poisoning death of a man in Litchfield earlier this...
Jul 20, 2017 11:16 AMThe owner of a truck may be facing charges after leaving his dog in a truck Wednesday afternoon when the temperature was in the...
Jul 19, 2017 11:15 AMChester police officer conducts adorable "traffic stop" on Edwards Mill Road Tuesday night. (More)
Jul 19, 2017 3:56 PMThe neighborhood where a 6-year-old boy apparently overdosed is familiar with the opioid crisis. (More)
Jul 19, 2017 5:38 PMThe community is mourning Ciara Brill who passed away Tuesday after battling a rare brain cancer. (More)
Jul 18, 2017 2:27 PMA Maine woman who fled to safety amid a deadly rampage says her boyfriend's father promised not to hurt her as he killed his...
Jul 20, 2017 7:11 AMArizona Sen. McCain tells Sen. Lindsey Graham, "I'll be back" following treatments after cancer discovered cancerous tumor last week. (More)
Jul 19, 2017 10:27 AMNew Hampshire is likely to get the second heat wave of the summer the next few days. Some tips on how to beat the...
Jul 19, 2017 11:22 AMAMR personnel revived a 6-year-old boy with Narcan after they found him unresponsive in Manchester. (More)
Jul 19, 2017 9:38 AMThe Manchester Veterans Administration hospital reported a "catastrophic mechanical failure" at about 4 a.m. which flooded parts of the facility. (More)
Jul 19, 2017 7:19 AMSeveral area fire departments help fight the afternoon fire. (More)
Jul 19, 2017 7:49 AMA New Hampshire lobsterman has joined an elite club after catching a rare blue lobster. (More)
Jul 18, 2017 3:22 PMA new study shows boxed macaroni and cheese has more than 4 times the amount of harmful chemical than other cheeses. (More)
Jul 18, 2017 8:13 PMNH will become the 22nd state in the nation to decriminalize simple marijuana possession thanks to a bill Governor Sununu signed into law Tuesday....
Jul 18, 2017 12:45 PMA Troy man faces 20 charges after he allegedly fled from police while drunken driving. (More)
Jul 18, 2017 12:18 PMA former dean of students at Pembroke Academy was in court Tuesday following two previous missed appearances. (More)
Jul 18, 2017 3:10 PMRochester Police had previously gotten reports that the wanted man would 'not be taken alive' and 'would shoot any officer that tried arresting him.'...
Jul 17, 2017 4:04 PMEight-month-old baby Colton recently diagnosed with a fatal genetic disease. (More)
Jul 18, 2017 12:16 PMSununu ranked towards the middle of the pack, coming in as the 19th most approved governor with a 57 percent approval rating. (More)
Jul 18, 2017 1:05 PMNew Hampshire's attorney general says a search is being conducted at a home where the bodies of two women were found in January. (More)