Newsletter: November 20, 2019

Breaking News: Maloney Wins Oversight Chair

Our sincerest congratulations to long-time ERA champion Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) for winning the powerful position of Chair of the Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives. She takes over from the late Elijah Cummings, who died last month. She becomes the first woman Chair of the Committee. Cheers!


State Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond) submitted her first legislation moments after filing season opened at midnight, putting passage of the ERA at the symbolic head of the list for that chamber.

— Washington Post, November 18, 2019

We are off and running towards state 38–as State Senator Jennifer McClellan in the Senate, and Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy in the House, filed resolutions to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. McClellan and Carroll Foy are Chief Patrons of the ERA bills in their respective Houses.  Senator Mamie Locke submitted a third ERA resolution, punctuating Virginia’s intent to take up the matter early, and ratify early. Here are releases from McClellan and Carroll Foy–and thanks to VARatify ERA for this checklist of what happens next.


Senator Jennifer McClellan’s Press Release

11/18/2019

Passage of legislation in Virginia would mean 38 states have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, meeting the Constitutional requirement

Richmond, VA – Today, Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) introduces legislation for the Commonwealth of Virginia to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. If this bill is passed by the Senate and House of Delegates during the 2020 legislative session, Virginia will become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, giving the amendment the constitutionally-required ratification by three quarters of the states.

Sen. McClellan’s bill will parallel similar efforts by Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) and Democrats in the House to pass the ERA into law, a bill that in 2019 passed the Senate but failed to clear a GOP-controlled House subcommittee on a party-line vote.

“Virginia is ready to make history,” said Senator Jennifer McClellan. “It’s time to finally ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and bring our nation one step closer towards equality.

“I want my daughter and son – and every daughter and son in America – to grow up in a country where equal rights for women are enshrined in our Constitution,” McClellan said. “It will be poetic justice to pass this historic equal rights law in 2020, the year that marks the 100-year anniversary of the 19th amendment, which guarantees women’s suffrage.” 

“The Virginia Senate has passed a resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment six times since 2011. We look forward to a seventh and final passage, followed by an epic celebration as the majority of American citizens will finally, specifically, have a promise of equality of rights under the law,” said Kati Hornung, Campaign Coordinator of VAratifyERA. 

The ERA strengthens protections against discrimination on the basis of sex. Ratifying the ERA in Virginia paves the way for constitutional equality for all American citizens regardless of sex.


Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy’s Press Release

11/18/2019

Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy To Sponsor Resolution to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment This Upcoming General Assembly Session

Richmond, VA — Today, Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (HD-2) filed a resolution to have Virginia be the 38th and final state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution for the upcoming 2020 General Assembly session. 

47 years after Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment, the ERA has still not met the threshold in order to become a constitutional amendment. A constitutional amendment will make discrimination against women unconstitutional and prohibit gender discrimination in regards to education, equality in pay, and employment opportunities.

The resolution advocates the position that the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment remains viable and may be ratified notwithstanding the expiration of the 10-year ratification period set out in the resolving clause, as amended, in the proposal adopted by Congress.

“This year’s elections were a turning point for women not only in Virginia, but throughout the country,” said Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy. “Women across the commonwealth have been pouring their hearts and souls into this issue, and we now need to take bold action in order to give women equal rights under the law. There is no time to waste — we are ready for our country to live up to its worthy assertion that despite race, class or sex, we are all created equal.” 


U.S. Senate Bill to Remove the Time Limit

In other news from Virginia, Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner were added as co-sponsors to S.J.Res.6, the bipartisan bill to remove the time limit on the Equal Rights Amendment passed in 1972. The bill is co-lead by Senators Ben Cardin and Lisa Murkowski and is the companion bill to Representative Speier’s House bill, H.J.Res.79.


Judiciary Vote to Remove the Time Limit

The Senate action comes on the heels of the overwhelming historic vote (21-11) in the House Judiciary Committee last Thursday, November 13th, in favor of reporting H.J.Res.79, Rep Jackie Speier’s time limit removal bill, to the House floor. We await a speedy scheduling by Speaker Pelosi of a full House vote–hopefully before the end of 2019, and before Virginia’s January ratification. We now have 223 Co-Sponsors (!) including Virginia Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA). Here is the Coalition’s Press Release on the Judiciary Vote. 


House Judiciary Committee Votes 21-11 to Remove the Time Limit Set in the Preamble of the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 15, 2019 – The ERA Coalition applauds the decisive vote in the House Judiciary Committee on November 13 to remove the time limit set in the preamble of the Equal Rights Amendment. By a vote of 21 to 11, the Committee sent Jackie Speier’s H.J.Res.79 out for consideration by the full House of Representatives for a vote. We trust Speaker Nancy Pelosi will set a date for that vote quickly. Read more.


Heidi Schreck and Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) 

The Fund for Women’s Equality (FFWE) was honored to host Supreme Court plaintiff Jessica Lenahan (formerly Gonzales) and board member Heidi Schreck in conversation on November 18th–following a screening of the film Home Truth, which documents Jessica’s search for justice. FFWE has launched the Jessica Lenahan Fund in Memory of her daughters Rebecca, Katheryn, and Leslie. Heidi told Jessica’s story so movingly in her Tony Nominated Play What the Constitution Means to Me, which will open in January with actor Maria Dizzia in Los Angeles, followed by runs in Chicago with many cities on the road show schedule after that.


In the News

Editorial: After nearly 50 years, the Equal Rights Amendment finally has a chance. Thanks, Virginia. Read the LA Times article here.

From left, Carol Jenkins, actress Alyssa Milano, and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., attend a news conference at the House Triangle on the need to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment on June 6, 2018. Credit: Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file.

We seem to be on a fast track.

In solidarity,

Carol Jenkins
CEO & Co-President
ERA Coalition

Thank you for your support.