Equal pay, family leave among priorities for Women's Legislative Caucus

Equal pay, family leave among priorities for Women's Legislative Caucus

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Equal pay, family leave and comprehensive reproductive health care coverage are just a few of the priorities identified by the Women's Legislative Caucus.

The Hawaii Women's Legislative Caucus is made up of all 22 women who serve in the state Legislature, in both the Senate and House of Representatives. The bi-partisan group introduces an official package of bills and resolutions each year, and they have drafted 15 for the 2018 Legislative Session.

The lawmakers have broken down their effort into five main categories: ensuring access to quality health care; reducing violence against women; child health and safety; ensuring equal opportunity and fair treatment; and women and economic opportunities.

Among the bills legislators have proposed is a measure aiming to end Hawaii's rape kit backlog.

Lawmakers want to mandate an annual statewide inventory and report of sexual assault evidence kits -- and a universal submission and testing requirement policy. They also want to develop a statewide system for tracking sex assault kits and a policy for keeping victims informed each step along the way.

Legislators are also fighting for equal pay.

They have a bill that would prohibit employers from requesting or considering a job applicant's wage or salary history when determining their compensation. That same measure would prevent enforcing wage secrecy and retaliation or discrimination against employees who disclose or inquire about their own or co-workers' wages.

The Caucus has also introduced a bill that would create a state version of Title IX -- prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation in educational programs and activities that receive state funding.

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