Bill Aims to Close Wage Gap Between Men and Women

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SACRAMENTO--

A bill aimed at closing the wage gap between men and women passed the senate floor Monday with a 39-0 vote.

For Sacramento residents like Tiffany Raner, it's been a long time coming. Raner, 30, has been fixing cars for over a decade, it was her childhood dream. But soon, she realized the journey was more like a nightmare.

"I've threatened to quit to get more money. There have been times where I was even the boss of these guys," Raner said. "They were making $25 an hour, I was making $15."

She's not alone. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, the average American woman earns .84 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, is hoping SB 358 closes the wage gap.

"We want to have a gender free work place when it comes to paying people for the services they provide for their employer," Jackson said.

Current law states men and women must be paid equally for the same job. SB 358 would expand that law and mandate that women and men be paid equally, even for substantially similar work. The bill would also prevent employers from firing anyone who asks for wage comparisons.

Kim Stone, president of the Civil Justice Association of California, worried that the bill would make employers vulnerable.

"We we were concerned the bill would contain [lawsuit] traps for unwitting businesses," Stone told FOX40 Tuesday.

After asking Jackson to amend the bill, Stone's team now supports SB 358.The amendments included give employers a legitimate reason, like education or seniority, to pay employees different wages.

"I like the bill," Raner told FOX40. "I just hope women speak up for themselves."

A spokesperson from Governor Jerry Brown's office tweeted that he will sign the bill.