Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Gender Equality

I helped lead the fight to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This important legislation reauthorized VAWA programs and added new provisions that improve campus safety, provide for audits of untested rape kits to give law enforcement the tools they need to reduce the backlog of rape kits, and reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to aid trafficking victims with resources and support services.

In addition, I have led the charge in Congress to make sure that trafficking victims are treated as victims—not as criminals, and to close loopholes in the criminal code that allow traffickers and buyers to escape punishment. Specifically, I worked with my colleagues across the aisle to introduce the End Sex Trafficking Act, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (which passed the House by a vote of 409-0). I also joined with my colleagues to introduce a resolution expressing once and for all that Our Daughters Are Not For Sale. 

Legislation I cosponsored on Economic Issues: 

Cosponsor of H.R. 377, the Paycheck Fairness Act. This bill would help close the wage gap between men and women by eliminating loopholes that allow pay discrimination to continue. The Paycheck Fairness Act builds upon the landmark 1963 Equal Pay Act to help fulfill the intended objective of ensuring that women are paid the same amount for equal work. Specifically, it prohibits employer retaliation for sharing salary information with coworkers and strengthens remedies for pay discrimination by increasing compensation women can seek (allows them to seek both back pay and punitive damages). Lastly, the bill creates a grant program for women to strengthen salary negotiation and other workplace skills, and requires the Department of Labor to enhance outreach and training efforts to eliminate pay disparities.

Cosponsor of H.R. 1010, the Fair Minimum Wage Act. This bill would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour by 2015 (using three steps of 95 cents), then provide for automatic annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living. The bill would also gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers—which currently stands at just $2.13 an hour—for the first time in more than 20 years, to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage ($7). More than half of the 30 million Americans who would get a raise under this bill are women.

Cosponsor of H.R. 3740, the Child Care Access and Refundability Expansion Act. This bill helps parents offset care costs associated with child care by making the tax credit associated with dependent care expenses refundable. The bill also indexes the income threshold and credit rate to inflation, which ensures that middle-class families would qualify for more of the credit to help them afford the cost of child care.

Cosponsor of H.R. 1286, the Healthy Families Act. This bill would require employers with more than 15 employees to allow employees to accrue at least 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked (equals a minimum of about 7 days per year). Paid sick days are a matter of public health and employment safety, but they’re especially important for mothers who are responsible for caring for themselves as well as sick children or family.

Cosponsor of H.R. 1975, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. This bill make it unlawful for an employer to refuse to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers or to deny employment opportunities based on a pregnant condition.

Cosponsor of H.J. Res 56, the Equal Rights Amendment Act. This bill proposes a constitutional amendment that declares that women shall have equal rights in the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. It prohibits the United States or any state from denying or abridging equal rights under the law on account of sex.


More on Gender Equality

Apr 12, 2016 Press Release

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan today joined Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and a bipartisan group of 110 Members of the House of Representatives in writing to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to support the members of the U.S. Women’s National Team filing a federal complaint. Recently, five soccer players accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of wage discrimination, citing the fact that they earn as little as 40 percent of what players on the U.S. Men’s National Team earn.

Jan 28, 2015 Press Release

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan today praised passage of a bipartisan package of bills to more fully engage the departments of State, Homeland Security, Justice and Health & Human Services in the ongoing battle against childhood sex trafficking in the United States.

Nolan noted that the package included the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, a bill identical to the one he sponsored and helped pass in the House last year along with Republican Rep. Ted Poe of Texas.

Oct 3, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken along with Representative Rick Nolan today announced that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office on Violence Against Women has awarded the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs in Duluth $1,203,479 to help the organization increase victim safety and offender accountability. Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs was founded in 1980 as an initiative to reform how the criminal justice system handled domestic violence cases in Duluth.

Oct 3, 2014 Press Release

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] Congressman Rick Nolan today announced $1,203,479 for Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP) in Duluth through the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Technical Assistance Program.

“This funding is incredibly important for the Duluth community and all who are served by DAIP,” Nolan said. “Violence against women is a human rights issue that should concern us all, and I am pleased to see these organizations receiving the funding they need and deserve.”

May 21, 2014 In The News

Female business executives and 8th District Congressman Rick Nolan met with women in Chisago City May 13 to talk about their importance in the workplace.

It was the first of a series of forums Nolan hosted as part of National Small Business Week and hosted in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the U.S. Small Business Administration and local Chambers of Commerce.

May 19, 2014 In The News

A forum in Duluth on Saturday focused on the issues facing women in the workplace.

Rep. Rick Nolan is hosting these across the 8th district. His wife, realtor and broker Mary Nolan, was there, along with other women who are community and business leaders in Duluth.

May 12, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Minnesota’s Eighth District Congressman Rick Nolan announced a series of women’s economic forums to focus on women entering or reentering the workforce, or starting their own business.

The forums will feature a panel of working women, women business owners, community leaders, including the Congressman’s spouse, realtor and broker Mary Nolan. Forums will be held in Chisago City, Brainerd, Duluth, and Hibbing, and will focus on helping women succeed in the workforce.

Jan 22, 2014 In The News

Duluth, MN ( -- Men as Peace Makers has taken action to eliminate sex trafficking in the Twin Ports. The initiative is called "Men Against Sex Trafficking," also known as MAST. The program gets men and businesses involved in the effort to combat sex trafficking.

"The 'MENding' project is the specific project that gathers together resources from local businesses for people who have been victims of sex trafficking," said Ed Heisler, executive director of Men as Peace Makers.

The effort is putting men on the front line to change conversational norms.

Jan 7, 2014 In The News

There is no question that folks are tired and fed up with this Congress. As lawmakers return to Washington, D.C. after the holidays, the 113th Congress has the lowest ever approval ratings, and there is no relief in sight. The big policy questions of the day, like immigration reform or gun control, continue to be stymied by a do-nothing, deeply divided Congress.