News Local/State

Dems Push Rauner On Gender Wage Bill

JB Pritzker and Bruce Rauner

Democratic gubernatorial nominee J.B. Pritzker, left, is urging Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, right, to sign a bill intended to fight pay inequity between men and women. Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois Democrats are trying to put Gov. Bruce Rauner on the spot over equal pay for women.

They’re pushing him to sign legislation that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants about salary history.

State Rep. Anna Moeller, a Democrat from Elgin, says the gender wage gap in Illinois averages 20 percent.

“In 2018, it’s wrong that we have women making less than men for equal work, and this bill is intended to address that,” Moeller told colleagues when the House debated the measure earlier this year.

Rauner says he agrees with the concept of equal pay, but not this approach. He vetoed similar legislation last year, suggesting Illinois adopt the Massachusetts model, which would make it easier for businesses to defend themselves from pay discrimination lawsuits.

A new version of the bill passed this spring, but a Democratic senator used a parliamentary tactic to delay putting it on the governor’s desk until Tuesday.

The delay means the deadline for Rauner to sign or veto the bill is in October — one month before the General Election.

Rauner’s Democratic opponent, J.B. Pritzker, issued a statement saying if Rauner doesn’t sign the legislation, he’ll “make sure it’s one of the first I sign as governor.”