DALLAS –- Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis attacked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for suggesting that existing state and federal laws are sufficient protection for women and minorities who discover they’re paid less than their colleagues for doing the same job.
Abbott made the comments on Sunday morning in an interview with Inside Texas Politics on WFAA.
Last year, the legislature passed the Lily Ledbetter Act, which let women and minorities sue in state court. But Governor Rick Perry vetoed the legislation, saying it could make Texas businesses susceptible to more lawsuits.
On Inside Texas Politics, Greg Abbott was asked, if elected, whether he would veto the same bill. He didn’t directly answer the question, but suggested laws are already in place to protect women and minorities.
“I fully expect women to be paid what men are paid,” Abbott told Inside Texas Politics. “There shouldn’t be any differential in payment because of sex. I’m proud to say that Texas is one of the few states in the nation that has a constitutional protection against sexual discrimination of any type. And under the current labor code in the state of Texas, there is a specific statutory prohibition - a specific law in the state of Texas - that prevents discrimination on the basis of sex in any type of employment, and I will ensure that women will not be discriminated in any way on pay because of their sex.”
Davis continues to try to frame Abbott as being hostile towards women’s issues and seized on Abbott’s comments. She was the Senate sponsor of the legislation that passed last year.
“Greg Abbott needs to stop dodging and give a straight answer about his opposition to the Texas Equal Pay Act,” Davis said in an e-mailed statement. “Hardworking Texans deserve to know if he believes in this simple principle: a full day’s work is worth a full day’s pay, no matter what your gender. With more families than ever before relying on two incomes, they can’t afford to have one of their paychecks unfairly reduced just because one of them is a woman.”
Both campaigns are battling to attract suburban women and Hispanic voters.