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ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota House has approved a bill that aims to narrow the pay gap between men and women.

House members approved the bill 106-24 Wednesday, with support from both parties. Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, a Republican from Crown, voted against the proposal.

The bill also expands access to affordable childcare and increases unpaid parental leave to 12 weeks from six.

At a news conference on the Capitol steps before the House vote, Hibbing Democrat Carly Melin, the bill's sponsor, said it was an exciting and long-overdue day.

The Senate will take up its version of the bill when it returns from a spring recess that starts after Thursday's session.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Tuesday protecting workers from retaliation when they speak about unequal compensation.

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