The Minnesota House passed a bill Wednesday afternoon that supporters say will help the economic status of women in Minnesota.
It drew bipartisan support with a vote of 106 to 24. The bill expands access to affordable health care, expands family leave and provides reasonable accommodations for pregnant and nursing employees.
The bill will also require businesses that receive state contracts to ensure that female employees aren't earning less than male counterparts in similar positions, said DFL Rep. Carly Melin of Hibbing.
"Women continue to face an income gap. About 80 cents to the dollar that men make and in some parts of Greater Minnesota it's even 73 cents to the dollar," Melin said.
Rep. Linda Runbeck, R-Circle Pines, said she's concerned parts of the bill won't be effective.
"All it is is rhetoric. It doesn't go anywhere and what you've done is create a tremendous buildup and people are going to say 'Is that all there is?" Runbeck said.
Another provision that would have required businesses to provide sick leave to workers was removed from the bill.
The Minnesota Senate is expected to vote on a similar bill later this month.