REFERENCE TITLE: ERA deadline; elimination; urging Congress
State of Arizona
House of Representatives
Second Regular Session
Representatives Powers Hannley: Alston, Andrade, Blanc, Butler, Cardenas, Carter, Clark, Descheenie, Engel, Epstein, Espinoza, Fernandez, Friese, Gabaldón, Gonzales, Martinez, Peten, Rios, Salman, Ugenti-Rita, Senator Dalessandro
A CONCURRENT MEMORIAL
urging the united states congress to remove the deadline for ratification of the equal rights amendment.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
To the Congress of the United States of America:
Your memorialist respectfully represents:
Whereas, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would enshrine in the United States Constitution the concept of women's equality and create a national legal standard for the elimination of sex discrimination; and
Whereas, originally authored by prominent suffragist and National Woman's Party leader Alice Paul, the ERA was first introduced in Congress in 1923 and again in every congressional session until it passed in 1972; and
Whereas, like every proposed amendment, after it passed by a two‑thirds vote of both the House and Senate, the ERA was sent to each state's legislature for ratification. Congress, however, had imposed a seven-year deadline on the ratification process in the preamble of the ERA. Three‑fourths of the states, or 38 states, must ratify a proposed amendment for it to become part of the U.S. Constitution. By January 1977, 35 states had ratified the ERA; and
Whereas, with the seven-year deadline approaching, women's rights activists, led by the National Organization for Women (NOW), took to the streets to demand removal of the timeline. Tens of thousands demonstrated in Washington, D.C. in 1978 as a result of NOW's comprehensive campaign, and thousands more sent telegrams to Congress, shutting down Western Union. Congress eventually granted an extension of the deadline until June 30, 1982, but the ERA opposition managed to hold back ratification in the 15 remaining states; and
Whereas, the 15 states that failed to ratify the ERA are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia; and
Whereas, the resolution to remove the deadline for ratification of the ERA would rescind the time limit in the preamble to the 1972 ERA. Since 35 states have already ratified the amendment, only three additional states would have to ratify the ERA for the amendment to take effect; and
Whereas, the text of the United States Constitution lays out the process for its own amendment, and nothing in the Constitution places a time limit on the ratification process. In fact, the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in May 1992, nearly 203 years after being first submitted to the states in September 1789. In addition, the original time limit placed on ERA ratification was imposed by Congress in the preamble, which states do not vote on in order to ratify the amendment; and
Whereas, ERA activists in unratified states are working to clear a path for the ERA. The Illinois State Senate passed the ERA in 2014 with a strong 39-11 vote, and in February 2015, the Virginia State Senate—which never took a floor vote on the ERA during the campaign in the 1970s and 1980s—voted to pass the ERA for the fourth time since 2011. These attempts to ratify the ERA have been blocked in the Illinois and Virginia Houses, but ERA activists have continued to mobilize support for constitutional equality. Over the past five years, grassroots ERA activists have also organized in Arkansas, Florida and North Carolina to push for ratification of the federal ERA.
Wherefore your memorialist, the House of Representatives of the State of Arizona, the Senate concurring, prays:
1. That the United States Congress take steps to remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
2. That the Secretary of State of the State of Arizona transmit copies of this Memorial to the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and each Member of Congress of the State of Arizona.