With Democrats focused on really important stuff such as the proper use of pronouns “(she” and “her” when referring not only to female senators and delegates but the sergeant of arms, a male), they may or may not have time to attend to every bill submitted, especially those likely to bog down in the face of determined resistance. But it’s worth highlighting some of the more extreme measures for the purpose of illuminating the Democratic Party id. Even if these bills go nowhere this session, they reveal the preoccupations of the progressives who are increasingly dominant in the party of (the now-discredited) Jefferson and Jackson, and tell us where Virginia could be heading. (Hat tip to Hans Bader for bringing these to my attention.)
Expanding the Virginia Human Rights Act. Del. Kathy Tran, D-Springfield, who last year championed late-term abortions and lobbied for a lactation room in the General Assembly, has submitted HB 1200 to revise the Virginia Human Rights Act, which already makes it it unlawful to discriminate against any employee on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender… or medical condition such as lactation. The bill would prohibit discrimination on the basis of age for anyone 40 years or older, eliminate the exemption for employers with fewer than five employees, and render the employer liable for up to $25,000 in damages plus attorneys fees — not “reasonable attorneys fees,” as provided in federal law, but “attorneys fees,” which could be wildly inflated and could easily be substantially higher than the actual award.
Equal Pay Act. Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Herndon, has submitted SB 660, which would prohibit employers from paying wages and compensation to members of a “protected class” (race, religion, gender, sexual orientation — it’s not clear if this includes lactation status) “at a rate less than the rate which it pays … employees who are not members of the protected class for substantially similar work.” The measure establishes criteria for when wage differentials between employees are permitted: seniority (not penalizing for leave due to pregnancy, parental, family, or medical reasons), a “bona fide merit system,” or a “bona fide factor” such as education, training or experience. Throwing in a burdensome bureaucratic requirement for good measure, the Equal Pay Act would require employers to maintain records on the wages and wage rates, job classifications, and other terms and conditions of employment for three years. No exemptions for small businesses or even micro businesses. Boysko’s state senate biography lists her occupation as “community organizer.”
If Democrats prevail on bills like these, you can kiss good-bye to free labor markets.
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