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Tucson leads with equal pay, state to reintroduce ERA this session

Mayor Regina Romero on ERA & city's equal pay ordinance
Posted at 8:04 AM, Feb 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-10 10:04:49-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Virginia is the latest state to ratify the equal rights amendment. The state voted to set the amendment in place a few weeks ago and is the 38th state to do so.

The Grand Canyon State is not a part of that group.

Tucson mayor Regina Romero said, it is not that there wasn't work done in the Arizona state legislature, it simply didn't pass.

"Its frustrating to be in 2020 and the Equal Rights Amendment being part of the conversation for at least two generations of women, and it not being ratified," said Romero.

Before becoming mayor, Romero, as a council member, was a key figure in the city of Tucson adopting an equal pay ordinance back in 2015. She says the need she saw five years ago, though improved with the city ordinance, is the same need she sees now. Romero said women are paid differently, and families suffer when pay and treatment isn't equal.

"It is not just a woman issue, its an issue that effects our economy, it effects families, and it should not happen in this day in age in the United States of America," said Romero.

And whether the topic of discussion is specifically about equal pay or about the ERA in its entirety, Romero said, it is all connected. She said the next step is the work of the federal government to adopt the era in the constitution.

"The federal government needs to act. Passing the ERA is institutionalizing the rights of women in our constitution," said Romero.

KGUN 9 reached out to the Labor Department for a comment on the ERA and equal pay in the state. A representative declined to comment and directed us to state statute 23-341A which says in part, "... no employer shall pay any person ... wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex ... for the same quantity and quality ... of work..."

The ERA (HCR2002) failed on the Arizona house floor in the 2019 session, but is expected to be reintroduced in the 2020 session.