Equal Rights Amendment backers urge movement on bills at NC General Assembly They plan to sweeten the action with cookies and personal stories June 7th

 Durham, NC – The Equal Rights Amendment North Carolina Alliance is holding an “I Love the ERA” event at the North Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 2 p.m. In an effort to alert the members of the House and Senate Committees on Rules of the importance of HB102 and S85, participants will distribute heart-shaped cookies and literature, and share why they feel the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) should be ratified.

The ERA is a Constitutional amendment affirming the legal equality of the sexes that simply states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

 Congress passed the amendment in 1972, but the bill received only 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications by the deadline in 1982. However on March 22, 2017, the state of Nevada determined the amendment could still be legally viable and ratified the ERA, making it the first state to do so in 40 years and accelerating the nationwide push for the final two ratifications.

The two bills for ratification of the ERA were introduced in the NC General Assembly in February; they were sent to the House and State Committees on Rules, where bills frequently expire without being considered or voted on. With the General Assembly currently moving to shorten this year’s session, our hope is to draw their attention to the need to pass bills out of committee and inform the members about the issue of the ERA in general.

Gailya Paliga, President of NC National Organization for Women, noted that the Constitutional amendment would strengthen existing laws intended to prevent gender discrimination and assist courts in negating the effect of laws that hurt women and their families. “Bad laws are only meeting their match in the courts,” Paliga says. “Often it is federal courts which are stopping bad laws, but unfortunately the courts aren’t undoing the damage done by bad laws such as pay and pregnancy discrimination.”

“I support the ERA because I believe it gives a strong constitutional basis for nondiscrimination and the preservation and development of women’s rights,” says Emily Hagstrom, a Public Policy and Political Science major at UNC Chapel Hill, who will participate in Wednesday’s event. Without the ERA, Hagstrom says, “I feel like my state views women’s desire for equality as an extreme, irrational and foolish claim, and does not value my life.”

Using cookies for this event is in reference to an incident in 2013, when former Governor Pat McCrory handed pro-choice demonstrators cookies while they were protesting the infamous ‘Motorcycle Vagina Law.’ McCrory’s gesture was questioned as being patronizing. Our gesture is intended to demonstrate to the members of the House and Senate Rules Committees that the women of North Carolina don’t want a cookie and platitudes; they want true legal equality in the United States.

Gloria Thomas, director of the Carolina Women’s Center, says ratification of the ERA is essential. “ALL women deserve equality of rights under the law,” she says. “Once enacted, there can be no confusion about and justification for unequal treatment of women. When cases are brought before judges at any level, there will be no misinterpretation of laws to perpetuate such treatment. Simply put, equal means equal.”

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About the ERA-NC Alliance:

The ERA-NC Alliance (www.era-nc.org) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization seeking ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. constitution. Membership is open to individuals and organizations committed to ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Lead organizations include the American Association of University Women of NC, Democratic Women of NC, League of Women Voters of NC, NC4ERA, NC Business and Professional Women, NC National Organization for Women, NC Women United, Ratify ERA- NC and the Women’s Forum of NC. The Alliance operates in direct collaboration with the national ERA Coalition (www.eracoalition.org).

For more information contact: Audrey Muck, fanninmm@gmail.com, 336-480-1947

Copyright © 2017 ERA-NC Alliance, All rights reserved.
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ERA Advocates send 13,728 Messages to Legislative Committee Members

=From the state NOW Legislative Report:

ERA UPDATE

Both ERA bills S85 and H102 remain unheard in their respective Rules Committees. However, significant progress was made in lobbying efforts by organizations with an interest in the passage of the ERA. AAUW leadership reports that to date, 275 individuals have sent emails to the Rules Committee members of both chambers, resulting in 13,728 total emails sent. Anecdotal reports indicate that numerous contacts have been made to the offices of Sen. Bill Rabon, Rules Chair and Tim Moore, Speaker of the House. Advocates are calling for the ERA bills to be reassigned to appropriate committees to be heard.

The General Assembly is currently working to truncate this year’s session, additionally diminishing the chances that the bills will be heard this session. Therefore, the date for the June advocacy action, Cookie Drop, has been moved forward from late June to early June. NC4ERA is joining ERA-NC Alliance for the “I Love The ERA” Cookie Drop on June 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm at the legislature.  Participants will distribute heart-shaped cookies and educational literature on why we love the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

“I Love The ERA” Cookie Drop Event Details—A Successful Action

The ERA-NC Alliance is asking for volunteers to distribute the literature and cookies.

Date: Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Time: 2:00-3:00pm

Where: NCGA 16 W Jones St, Raleigh, NC 

Gather in the 1300 quadrant.

RSVP to help:  (optional, but will help with planning): http://bit.do/CookieDropRSVP

The ERA-NC Alliance is excited to welcome Kennedy Bridges and Marge Wright as summer interns with the ERA-NC Alliance. They began working with the Alliance on May 22nd  and will serve as Action Team Facilitators through July 14, 2017. The internship program is sponsored by the Moxie Project affiliated with The Carolina Women’s Center at the University of Chapel-Hill.

 

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What is going on in NC with the ERA?

Valentines Day 2017 the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced to North Carolina State Legislature by Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr., and Representative Carla Cunningham. We beckoned folks to celebrate Equality by supporting the ERA to show love for their partners. Over 100 citizens made their way to Raleigh the State Capitol to meet with their representatives to speak on behalf of this movement towards equality on Women’s Advocacy Day. We have called, we have emailed, hand written letters and postcards, we have had a very vocal meeting in the Legislative building, filling the available seats in the House, yet the Chairman of the House Rules Committee David Lewis has yet to acknowledge H102, same goes for the Senate side Senator Phil Berger President Pro Tempore have yet to call S85 to hearing.

The ERA would have had to wait till 2019 to be introduced again if it weren’t for Senate Resolution 676 rule 41, which states that any Constitutional or NC State Constitutional Amendment is exempt from cross over deadline from the House to the Senate (which was April 27, 2017)  This is wonderful news, yet we are not sure if our Legislators in the House Rules Committee would have simply let the ERA “die” with out knowledge of the allowance made by the Senate to let the bill continue to have the ability to be called to hearing. 

So it is still alive, our main enemies remain to be ignorance and apathy. So we must educate each other! Ratify ERA-NC is working closely with the ERA Alliance to build a “tool kit” on making local city and county resolutions(ten have already passed resolutions in 2016 &2017)  in support of the ERA which can then use the city’s lobbyist in Raleigh to make statements on our behalf and teaching constituents how to communicate with their reps as well. A valuable tool in the kit is the film Equal Means Equal, a documentary by Kamala Lopez highlighting the history of the ERA it’s importance and relevance is becoming more clear now than ever before.

Why is the ERA more important today than ever before? Because the funding for many programs that support woman and their families are being compromised by our current head of state. We are seeing cuts to family planning groups and funding that may be potentially pulled from the Violence Against Women Act , which was already defunded from $460 million in fiscal 2016 to $155 million in fiscal 2017.  We can no longer stand by while our families and our neighbors families are devalued, we are all human we all need basic things to remain healthy and continue to evolve as a cohesive society striving for peace. This is what we all want for our families and this common goal can not be thwarted, not by terrorists at home or overseas this is a universal goal for all working class people. We are being made to work harder with the cost of living increasing, from food, housing, education and transportation yet we still pay over 50% of the population less than folks with the same qualifications for the same work. Our current laws do not protect youth held in dangerous circumstances from being charged with prostitution contradicting other laws which state those same children are not of age to consent to sexual acts with adults. The injustice goes on yet we no longer stand by unaware. Don’t be distracted by the false seperation being drawn between working class people by those who control the media, do not give in to fearing the ‘evil other’ LOVE is all that will unite us and make room for us to respect our lives and each other’s.

LINK ARMS STAND FOR THE ERA, IT IS THE FOUNDATION OF LAW THAT WILL END WOMEN’S STATUS AS SECOND CLASS CITIZENS IN THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.

Make a testimonial video recording or send a note telling folks why we need the ERA to be passed! Tag #ERANOW #NC4ERA #RatifyERANC #EqualMeansEqual

Engage your communities and reach out to us for support! We are all affected by the state of things and we all have a choice to stand by apathy or to stand up for truth and justice! 

If you wish to get involved please email: amanda.eramarch@gmail.com

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Thanks to Blue Ridge Times for sharing our screening of Equal Means Equal!

http://www.blueridgenow.com/news/20170523/viewing-of-equal-rights-amendment-documentary-tuesday

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Truthout Article on New ERA Efforts in NC, Elsewhere

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40272-trump-s-sexism-provokes-new-effort-to-pass-the-era

 

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Congressional legislation to eliminate ERA deadline–an analysis

S.J.Res. 5: A joint resolution removing the deadline for the ratification of the equal rights amendment.

134 nations contain constitutional provisions guaranteeing gender equality under the law. 80 percent of Americans incorrectly believe the U.S. Constitution already does. It does not.

Nevada may have just resuscitated the major political issue, which had remained largely dormant for decades. On March 22nd, 2017, in a currently symbolic move, Nevada voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a U.S. constitutional amendment proposal that passed Congress in the 1970s.

However, the ERA fell three states short of the necessary 38 state ratifications by the 1982 deadline. With three of those missing states poised to ratify the amendment this year or next, legislation introduced in Congress would eliminate that 1982 deadline — potentially paving way for the amendment’s passage.

The context and what the bill does

The amendment, which states “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” passed Congress overwhelmingly: 354–24 in the House and 84–8 in the Senate.

But with three-quarters of the states needed to pass it, or 38 states total, it maxed out at 35 states by the bill’s deadline of 1982. The last state to ratify was Indiana in January 1977, more than four full decades ago. However, Congress can extend or eliminate the deadline retroactively and bring passage of the ERA back to the table.

S.J. Res. 5 and H.J. Res. 53 have been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA14) to eliminate the deadline for ratification. If the bill passes, then as long as 38 states ratify the amendment at any point, it would become part of the Constitution.

And with two states left to go, this isn’t a theoretical question. Advocates point to Illinois and Virginia as two states potentially likely to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment this year or next.

Who supports it

Supporters argue the legislation and constitutional amendment are necessary to ensure that women, who make up slightly more than half of the U.S. population at 50.4 percent, have equal rights to men, which advocates consider a basic issue of fairness.

Supporters also note that the 27th Amendment took more than two centuries between its 1789 congressional passage and receiving the necessary number of state ratifications in 1992. If that amendment didn’t contain a deadline and eventually found the necessary support later on, supporters ask, why shouldn’t the Equal Rights Amendment?

“I think many Americans would be shocked to find out that the U.S. Constitution still lacks a provision ensuring gender equality. Think about that: in 2017, women lack the same constitutional protections as men. This is clearly wrong and needs permanent correction,” Cardin said in a press release. “America was built on the promise of equal rights. Our history is defined by groups struggling to achieve full equality under the law. It’s long past time for us to recognize the equality of women in our fundamental governing documents.”

None of the biggest pollsters — such as Pew Research or Gallup — appear to have asked about the Equal Rights Amendment in the past few years, although that may change soon given the issue’s newfound timeliness. Cornell University’s Roper Center for Public Opinion Research has graphed the increasing support for the amendment over time.

Who opposes it

Opponents worry that the bill would upset traditional gender roles, fortify the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, and could provoke unintended consequences such as incidentally prohibiting differentiated bathrooms by sex.

Conservative columnist Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in Bloomberg View: “If the military draft ever returned, the amendment would mean that women had to be subject to it. Supporters of the right to abortion that the Supreme Court had pretended to find in the Constitution would use the ERA to strengthen their case, too.” (Women are exempt from the draft, despite a measure requiring them to register almost passing last year.)

What about President Trump? Trump does not appear to have ever commented publicly on the amendment, nor do presidents have a formal role in the constitutional amendment process which requires approval only of Congress and state legislatures. However, as leader of the Republican Party, Trump certainly would have an informal role in helping or hindering its passage based on his support or opposition.

Is extending the deadline constitutional?

Some are concerned about whether Congress would even be allowed to extend the deadline. A Supreme Court decision called Coleman v. Millerfound that when a deadline has been fixed to an amendment proposal, a subsequent Congress has the right to determine whether the amendment is “no longer responsive to the conception which inspired it.” Some conservatives believe the ERA is no longer societally necessary as it was in the 1970s — if it was even necessary back then.

Another constitutionally questionable issue is the five conservative states that rescinded their ratification, taking it back: Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Tennessee. The Constitution does not reference whether a state is allowed to take back a ratification after it has previously approved an amendment. If those reversals are upheld as valid, then the number of states to have ratified (counting the recent Nevada) would drop from 36 to 31 — a perhaps insurmountable hurdle in the quest for 38.

Odds of passage

The bills have attracted 148 House cosponsors and 28 Senate cosponsors, none of them Republicans. The legislation awaits a vote in the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.

The versions introduced in the previous Congress, neither of which received a vote, attracted 30 Senate cosponsors and 164 House cosponsors. Both chambers included one Republican cosponsor: former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WYO), who were, respectively, defeated in his November re-election bid and declined to seek another term. It’s unclear whether there is a single sympathetic Republican in the current Congress at this time.

This time, could congressional Republicans be forced to act despite their opposition? Maybe, just maybe, the answer is yes. The party that loudly proclaims “states’ rights” and “the Constitution” from the rooftop at almost any opportunity could face a massive public backlash if they block a constitutional change approved by the vast majority of states. And the party’s pulled Affordable Care Act replacement last week indicates that they are susceptible to public pressure.

Last updated Apr 11, 2017. View all GovTrack summaries.
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Why I March…

Please join our friends The Progressive Women of Hendersonville in the presentation of “Why We March” in image and word show that will be held May 3rd-19th at the Hendersonville Main Library.  The reception is May 3rd.

Feel free to print and share this flyer.  They are accepting submissions until April 28th.

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A timely alert, courtesy of AAUW of NC

Please take 2 minutes to respond to this alert, which urges legislators to move the ERA out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. Copy this onto your browser, then just provide your address and click on the links:

http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/50796/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=21540&killorg=True

Your time will be well spent. Thank you.

 

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Fact Sheet about the 3-State Strategy

WHY THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT REMAINS LEGALLY VIABLE AND PROPERLY BEFORE THE STATES FOR RATIFICATION

Roberta W. Francis
ERA Education Consultant, Alice Paul Institute

April 2017

Section 1: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2: The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3: This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

The Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, first proposed by Alice Paul in 1923, was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on March 22, 1972, by the required two- thirds majority and was sent to the states for ratification. An original seven-year deadline in the proposing clause was later extended by Congress to June 30, 1982. At that date, only 35 of the necessary 38 of the states had ratified the ERA. It has not yet become part of the Constitution.

Political action in the unratified states has led to ratification of the ERA by Nevada in 2017.

In the 1990s, supporters began to advocate for passage of ERA ratification bills in the 15 so- called “unratified” states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia). By 2017, such bills had been introduced in one or more legislative sessions in 12 of these states (all but Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina). Between 1995 and 2016, ERA ratification bills were released from committee in several states and were passed by one but not both legislative houses in two of them. The Illinois House but not the Senate passed an ERA ratification bill in 2003, while the Senate but not the House did so in 2014. The Virginia Senate passed a bill ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment five times between 2011 and 2016, but the House of Delegates never released its companion bill from committee for a floor vote.

On March 22, 2017, 45 years to the day after Congress sent the amendment to the states, Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the ERA. Ratification bills have also been introduced in 2017 in the legislatures of Arizona, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

128 Hooten Road, PO Box 1376 (mailing), Mount Laurel, NJ 08054 856-231-1885, info@alicepaul.org, www.alicepaul.org www.equalrightsamendment.org, info@equalrightsamendment.org

THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT

The three-state strategy posits that the ERA is still legally viable and properly before the states.

Political activity in the unratified states is the result of a “three-state strategy” for ERA ratification, which was developed after the 27th (“Madison”) Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1992, more than 203 years after its 1789 passage by Congress. Acceptance of that unprecedentedly long ratification period as sufficiently contemporaneous led some ERA advocates to develop the argument that the ERA is still properly before the states and its existing 35 state ratifications remain legally viable. The time limit on ERA ratification is open to change, as Congress demonstrated in extending the original deadline, and precedent with the 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments shows that rescissions or other legislative retractions of ratifications have not been accepted as valid. Therefore, it is possible that state ERA ratifications occurring after 1982 could be added to the existing 35 ratifications, and when 38 states have ratified, the ERA could become part of the Constitution.

This untrodden constitutional ground is explored by Allison Held et al. in “The Equal Rights Amendment: Why the ERA Remains Legally Viable and Properly Before the States,” William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Spring 1997. The Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service discussed this analysis in 1996 and 2014 reports on the status of ERA ratification and concluded that acceptance of the Madison Amendment does have implications for the ERA’s three-state strategy and that the issue is more of a political question than a constitutional one. (See www.equalrightsamendment.org/strategy.htm for further information.)

No precedent exists for withdrawing a state ratification by rescission or other means.

Five states – Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee, and South Dakota – have attempted to withdraw their approval of the Equal Rights Amendment after ratifying it. However, based on precedent, case law, and statutory language, a state’s vote to rescind or otherwise withdraw its ratification of a constitutional amendment has never been accepted as valid.

During the ratification process for the 14th Amendment, New Jersey and Ohio voted to rescind their ratifications after first voting yes, but they were both included in the published list of states approving the amendment in 1868. New York retracted its ratification of the 15th Amendment before the last necessary state ratified in 1870, but it was listed as one of the ratifying states. Tennessee, the final state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment, approved the amendment by one vote on August 18, 1920, but the Tennessee House “non-concurred” on August 31. However, the U.S. Secretary of State had already proclaimed the amendment’s inclusion in the Constitution on August 26 (now commemorated as Women’s Equality Day).

In Leser v. Garnett (1922), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the 19th Amendment with language supporting the claim that a state’s ratification of a federal amendment ends its ability to further participate in that amendment’s ratification process:

The proclamation by the Secretary certified that from official documents on file in the Department of State it appeared that the proposed amendment was ratified by the Legislatures of 36 states, and that it ‘has become valid to all intents and purposes as a part of the Constitution of the United States.’ As the Legislatures of Tennessee and of West Virginia had power to adopt the resolutions of ratification, official notice to the Secretary, duly authenticated, that they had done so, was conclusive upon him, and, being certified to by his proclamation, is conclusive upon the courts.

In The Story of the Constitution (1937), the United States Constitution Sesquicentennial Commission explained that:

… an amendment was in effect on the day when the legislature of the last necessary State ratified. Such ratification is entirely apart from State regulations respecting the passage of laws or resolutions…. Approval or veto of such ratification by the Governor is of no account either as respects the date or the legality of the sanction. The rule that ratification once made may not be withdrawn has been applied in all cases; though a legislature that has rejected may later approve, and this change has been made in the consideration of several amendments.

A 1981 court decision (Idaho v. Freeman) in the U.S. District Court of the District of Idaho is sometimes inaccurately cited as support for the claim that the ERA time extension was invalid and rescission votes are permissible. This decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, which did not hear arguments on the appeal before the June 30, 1982 ratification deadline passed. As the Congressional Quarterly’s 1982 CQ Almanac explained, “Not only did the justices dismiss the cases as moot, they also vacated the lower court decision [Idaho v. Freeman], wiping it off the law books and rendering it useless as a precedent, a partial victory for those challenging it.”

In an October 25, 2012 letter to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY), longtime lead sponsor of the traditional ERA ratification bill in the House of Representatives, Archivist of the United States David Ferriero wrote:

[The National Archives and Records Administration’s] website page “The Constitutional Amendment Process” (www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution) … states that a proposed Amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three- fourths of the states, indicating that Congressional action is not needed to certify that the Amendment has been added to the Constitution. It also states that [the U.S. Archivist’s] certification of the legal sufficiency of ratification documents is final and conclusive, and that a later rescission of a state’s ratification is not accepted as valid….These statements are derived from 1 U.S.C. 106b.

Bills in Congress support implementation of the three-state strategy for ERA ratification.

Since 1994, bills have been introduced in each session of Congress to support the premise that ERA ratification will be accomplished when an additional three states beyond the existing 35 ratify it. In the 115th Congress (2017-2018), Senator Benjamin Cardin (MD) and Representative Jackie Speier (CA) are the lead sponsors of companion bills S.J.Res. 5 and H.J.Res. 53, which are intended to maintain the legal viability of the 35 state ratifications achieved before the 1982 deadline by affirming that “notwithstanding any time limit contained in House Joint Resolution 208, 92d Congress, as agreed to in the Senate on March 22, 1972, the article of amendment proposed to the States in that joint resolution shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution whenever ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States.”

Following the recent ratification of the ERA by Nevada, increasing action on the amendment at federal and state levels will test the premise of the three-state strategy and determine the relative influence of a time limit in the proposing clause of an amendment compared with other political, legal, and judicial considerations.

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Call your state legislators and urge them to ratify ERA

Read this excellent article by Ann Von Brock:

https://mountainx.com/opinion/tell-your-state-legislators-to-ratify-the-era/

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