- Associated Press - Thursday, May 16, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A new local law will ban Mississippi’s largest city from asking people about their salary history when they apply for municipal government jobs.

The Jackson City Council approved the ordinance Tuesday, and it takes effect June 14, the Clarion Ledger reported.

Council members and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said the law is intended to alleviate the problem of women being paid less than men for the same jobs. It applies only to Jackson city government jobs, not to jobs in the private sector.

Equal pay supporters say pay disparities between men and women persist partly because salaries could be based on previous employment, which may reflect past discrimination.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says Mississippi and Alabama are the only states without laws requiring equal pay for equal work. Equal pay bills have failed in the Mississippi Legislature this year and in other recent years.



Jackson City Councilman De’Keither Stamps wrote the local law and said he hopes other cities, counties and school districts in Mississippi will adopt similar ones.

Nationally, women earn 20 percent less than men, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

“If you’re expected to bring a whole other skill set and carry more responsibilities in a new job, you shouldn’t be tied to your past salary. It shouldn’t be used as an anchor to hold you down,” Stamps said.

He also made a connection between equal pay laws and poverty.

“You have to ask why is there poverty in Mississippi? Well, you can’t have a serious debate about doing something about poverty, if you’re not doing something for women in poverty,” Stamps said. “Otherwise, you’re not serious.”

Lumumba told Stamps during the City Council meeting: “I want to make it clear that I stand with you on this and I commend you.”

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Information from: The Clarion Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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