Updated: 04/23/2014 12:52 PM
Created: 04/23/2014 5:30 AM KSTP.com
Minnesota senators have passed a wide-ranging package of workplace protections for women aimed at leveling pay, accommodating pregnancies and fostering entrepreneurial opportunities.
The bill passed 51-14 on Wednesday and sets up a likely negotiation with the House, which passed legislation that goes even further. All Senate Democrats voted for the bill, which they framed as overdue steps to give women more employment security.
The Republicans who opposed the measure say it involves too much government interference.
The act would require many companies with government contracts to certify they pay men and women similarly. It would prevent companies from barring employees from openly discussing their wages. And it provides longer leave time for new mothers and addresses their need for nursing space.
Gov. Mark Dayton supports the thrust of the bills.
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