As the father of two daughters, I want them to have to have every opportunity in life that men have, as should every woman. Unfortunately, women far too often face unequal treatment in the workplace and that is why I have supported numerous pieces of legislation to level the playing field for women.
During the 2016 session, I sponsored the Gender Pay Equity Act. This bill would help close the gender pay gap by providing a tax credit to employers demonstrating that they paid female employees the same salary as their male counterparts. I was also a strong supporter of the Fair Pay for Women Act, which would create legal protections to ensure that women are paid the money they earned.
Employers should be supportive of women who chose to start or grow a family. Far too often, women find themselves struggling to take maternity leave or at a disadvantage when they return to work after being on maternity leave. That is why I supported the Pregnant Worker Accommodation Act, which requires employers to make accommodations for pregnant workers so that they can continue to work comfortably when they are expecting.
Keeping Women Safe
Fighting for gender equity is more than making sure that women receive equal treatment in the workplace. It also means that women need to feel safe in their communities. When violent criminals are allowed to get away with rape, the threat to their victims continues long past the time when the physical wounds have healed. That’s why I fought to include $1.2 million in this year’s budget to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits.
Ensuring Quality Healthcare for Women
According to the National Council on Aging, over 70% of adults aged 19 and older on Medicaid are women. The decision by Governor Martinez to expand Medicaid coverage in New Mexico under the Affordable Care Act makes health care available to significantly more New Mexican women who would otherwise go without. While increased Medicaid costs are beginning to put a strain on the state’s budget, I remain committed to ensuring that this program continues to be funded adequately.