Here's the truth on Equal Pay: Peter supports our Illinois Equal Pay Act, which has been the law since 2003. It is balanced and provides strong protections for women who are discriminated against in the workplace. But Howard's deceptive mailers cite a Madigan bill I strongly opposed last year, which was written to benefit special interests. That bill would have forced every employer in our state, from the smallest to the largest, to justify every penny of any difference in pay between any two employees with similar job duties. This would hit small businesses, more of which are started by women than men, the hardest. First off, instead of putting the burden on the person making a claim, this bill would shift the burden to an employer--and if a small businessperson loses, they are fined and have to pay the other person's attorney's fees. Small businesses don't have the same sort of strict pay scales and policies that large employers do, so they would have little way of rebutting a claim under this bill. Nor do small businesses have lawyers and Human Resources professionals on staff to fight off meritless claims, brought by lawyers who know they would be able to squeeze those small businesses for a payday, to avoid the cost of hiring attorneys and spending years tied up in court.
Here's the truth on the ERA: Peter supports full equal rights for women, and vigorous court process to secure those rights. The ERA wouldn't in any way help those rights or that court process, and proponents could not point to a single example where ERA would help women secure any new rights. Moreover, ratification of the ERA, as with most modern constitutional amendments, was limited to seven years after its adoption by Congress in 1972. You can't ratify an amendment that's not alive--any vote claiming to be a ratification is a nullity and would be both unconstitutional and illegal. Another critical point is that, despite the proponents of ERA not providing any examples of inequality that would be addressed under ERA, there is one area where state-level versions of ERA have been used: to force a right to taxpayer-funded abortions. In New Mexico and Connecticut, without any sort of legislative vote or vote of the people, the courts interpreted those state's ERA abortion to overturn bans on the use of taxpayers' money to pay for elective abortions. Whatever your position on abortion, the overwhelming majority of folks in Illinois do not think their tax dollars should be diverted to fund other people's elective abortions. I made a speech on the House Floor during the ERA debate, which you can click here to view.
Here's the truth on Abortion: The claim that Peter filed a bill to ban abortion is false. The bill Peter actually filed would create the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," and you can click here to review it. The broad majority of folks in the 48th District agree with Peter that, whatever your view on abortion, tax dollars should not be diverted to pay for other people's elective abortions. That's doubly true in a state with such fiscal issues as Illinois. Peter also strongly supports parental involvement before an abortion can be performed on a minor. A child can't get an asprin or take a field trip to the Art Institute without a permission slip, and Peter believes the same should be true about elective surgical procedures like abortions. Terra Costa Howard believes the exact opposite: Howard supported the new law that forces taxpayers to fund others' elective abortions (roughly 20,000-30,000 per year, at a cost of $10M-15M), and she would vote to repeal our state's current law requiring Parental Notice before Abortions on minors.