AUGUSTA — The first female governor in the history of the state of Maine has signed a bill designed to improve pay equality in the state.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed the legislation Friday afternoon. Proponents say the legislation will help shrink the wage gap because it discourages employers from basing wages on an employee’s salary history.

Lawmakers approved the bill on April 2, which was the symbolic National Equal Pay Day.

Democratic Sen. Cathy Breen of Falmouth was the lead sponsor of the bill. The National Partnership for Women & Families has estimated that female full-time workers in Maine were paid 82 cents on the dollar compared to men.

There’s also a proposal to amendment the Maine Constitution to outlaw discrimination on the basis of gender. It’s advancing in the Maine Legislature.

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