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Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, May 15, 2000

Legislature 2000

Task force will
investigate ‘wage

To raise awareness of salary inequities in the workplace, state representatives declared last Thursday as Equal Pay Day.

"Although 37 years have passed since the enactment of the Equal Pay Act, wage discrimination still exists today," said Rep. Iris Ikeda Catalani (D, Ahuimanu).

The Legislature passed a bill that will establish a task force to look over pay differences between men and women in equivalent state jobs.

"Women in Hawaii are still earning less than men despite having the same education, skill and experience," said Catalani.

In 1963, women made 59 cents for every dollar men earned. Today, they are making 82 cents for every man's dollar, said Catalani.

"While there has been a narrowing of the wage gap, much of the change is due to Hawaii's strong unions."

Equal Pay Day was established by the Business and Professional Women organization, a national group dedicated to achieving equity for women in the workplace.

DRUG ACTION FAILS: U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie's legislation designed to lower prescription drug prices for senior citizens has failed to move in Congress.

In a nationwide study conducted by Families USA last month, the report showed prices increased at nearly twice the rate of inflation for drugs most commonly prescribed for senior citizens.

"The new Families USA report reaffirms what Hawaii seniors already know," said Abercrombie (D, Hawaii). "The rising cost of prescription drugs is eating into a larger portion of their income every year."

A study in March 1999 conducted by Abercrombie showed senior citizens in Hawaii pay a high percentage markup for prescription drugs compared to prices charged to government agencies and hospitals.

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