Obama Signs Ledbetter Act as His First Bill

Law allows suits for decades-old pay discrimination
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 29, 2009 10:23 AM CST
President Obama signs Lilly Ledbetter Act as Ledbetter watches, Thursday, Jan. 29. From left: Rep. Steny Hoyer, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Sen. Olympia Snowe, DC Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Nancy Pelosi.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – President Obama signed his first piece of legislation today, selecting an equal pay bill that makes it easier for women to sue for decades-old discrimination. Lilly Ledbetter—who for 19 years endured a pay discrepancy at Goodyear—stood at his side as the president signed the Fair Pay Act named after her. The law is designed to make it easier for workers to sue for decades-old discrimination.

The law nullifies a Supreme Court decision that said workers had 180 days to file pay-discrimination lawsuits. "This is a wonderful day," Obama said, his entrance in the room met with hearty cheers from labor and women's groups present. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker in Congress' history, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were present.