FACT CHECK 5: Tom Udall Stands Up For New Mexico Women

Tom Udall has been a leader in standing up for New Mexico women. In the workplace, Tom Udall has cosponsored legislation aimed at helping women ensure they get equal pay for equal work. In the doctor’s office, Tom Udall has fought to keep government and employers out of a woman’s private, personal medical decisions. At home, Tom Udall has been a leader in combating violence against women.

Tom Udall Helped Pass Legislation Protecting Workers From Gender-Based Pay Discrimination. On January 8, 2009, Tom Udall signed on as a cosponsor to S.181 (111th), the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. This bill allowed employees to sue employers for wage discrimination within 180 days of their last paycheck affected by the alleged discrimination. The measure was designed to overturn a 2007 Supreme Court decision (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.) that ruled a worker could not bring a wage discrimination suit more than 180 days after the initial discriminatory act. The bill was signed into law on January 29, 2009. [111th Congress, S. 181]

Tom Udall Cosponsored The Paycheck Fairness Act. On January 23, 2013, Tom Udall joined Senator Mikulski in introducing S. 84, the Paycheck Fairness Act. This bill would require employers to show that any pay disparity is job-related and not based on gender. It would make it easier to file sex discrimination cases in wage claims by putting the legal onus on employers to prove that pay discrepancies between women and men doing the same jobs were the result of nondiscriminatory business necessities. [113th Congress, S.84] 

As Attorney General, Tom Udall Passed A Tough New Anti-Stalking Law. In November of 1996, the Albuquerque Journal reported that a coalition of advocates for domestic violence victims, including Attorney General Tom Udall proposed a set of changes to existing state laws on stalking. According to the Journal, “Under current laws, stalking is a misdemeanor until the third conviction, according to Attorney General Tom Udall, who presented the proposal. The new law would make a second conviction a felony and would require the stalker to complete a counseling program. It would also create the crime of aggravated stalking, which would automatically be a fourth-degree felony the first time and a third-degree felony the second and subsequent convictions.” That proposal was introduced in the following legislative session and passed into law [Albuquerque Journal, 11/26/1996; New Mexico Legislature 1997 Regular Session HB 211]

Tom Udall Helped Pass Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization With Protections For Native Women. On January 23, 2013, Tom Udall cosponsored S. 47, A bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. This bill reauthorized a series of programs to support victims of domestic violence. According to the New York Times, a major obstacle to the bill’s passage in the House was a set of provisions backed by Tom Udall granting tribal courts jurisdiction to prosecute domestic violence offenses committed against native women by non-natives on reservations. “Native women should not be abandoned to a jurisdictional loophole,” said Udall, who backed similar provisions in stand-alone legislation in the previous congress. The bill, including the tribal provisions was signed into law on March 7, 2013. [New York Times, 2/10/2013113th Congress, S.47CNN, 2/28/2013]

Tom Udall Voted To Stop The “Blunt Amendment,” Which Would Allow Employers To Cut Off Coverage Of Contraceptives. On March 01, 2012, Tom Udall voted for a motion to table (kill) the Blunt, R-Mo., amendment (no. 1520) to a transportation bill. The Blunt amendment would allow health insurance plans to deny coverage to provisions for medical services that run counter to the plan sponsor’s or employer’s religious beliefs. It also would establish a private right of legal action for enforcement of the coverage exemptions. Senator Patty Murray, who offered the motion to table the Blunt amendment said “It would simply give every boss in America the right to make the health-care decisions for their workers and their families.” [CQ Floor Votes; Senate Vote #24, 3/1/2012Washington Post, 3/1/2012]