Oregon Republicans accused Democrats of failing to pass a measure that would make it illegal to unfairly compensate veterans for work, according to KTVZ News.
The measure under consideration, HB 2005 MRA, was turned down 29-31 in a vote Tuesday that would have protected veterans of discrimination based on their history in the armed forces.
“Oregon workers deserve equal pay for equal work,” said Rep. Jodi Hack (R-Salem). “But as we continue the conversation on how to best protect Oregonians from wage discrimination, we need to make sure that our veterans do not get left behind.”
Hack and other Republicans were trying to tack the measure on to a wage discrimination bill, which passed the House 36-24.
The bill prevents wage discrimination according to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, marital status or age. The proposed change would have added veteran status to the list of protections.
Republicans added that the alteration would also permit employee’s to seek compensatory damages when employers violate the law. Four Democrats voted in favor of the change, but still, the vote fell short.
“We had an opportunity today to move forward on a bill that would have provided protections for Oregonians, including veterans, while also encouraging Oregon businesses to be proactive in ensuring that they are operating within the law,” concluded Rep. Mike McLane.
House Democrats are suggesting the Republican proposal would abolish many of the wage protections that have already been implemented.
“Many of the speakers who voted against the minority report were clear that veterans should be added later, but they were against the minority report because it weakened worker protections,” said Scott Moore, a spokesman for House Democrats.
Moore noted that the House Republicans made no mention of veteran protections until moments before the vote.