This list is key Virginia Senators and Delegates who have not previously signed on to co-patron the Equal Rights Amendment resolutions (and are not signed on to 2019’s resolutions). VAratifyERA’s request of these legislators is simply to let the resolution go to the full floor for a vote. This will allow for an equality decision on behalf of all Virginians where everyone is represented by their elected officials.

Prioritization on this list is based upon leadership position and committee assignment. Not every unsupportive legislator is listed, just the unsupportive legislators on a key committee. Contact information for each legislator is available by clicking on their name.

Priority 1
Path to the Floor

Virginia House of Delegates

Delegate M. Kirkland “Kirk” Cox, Speaker of the House

Background: Speaker Cox sets the course for an Equal Rights Amendment ratification in 2019 depending upon which committee he selects to consider the issue. The House Privileges and Election committee, chaired by Delegate Mark Cole, has never docketed the Equal Rights Amendment. Speaker Cox, on the other hand, is the chair of the Rules Committee and could single-handedly (without a committee vote) put the Equal Rights Amendment straight to the House floor for a vote.

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The ask: Speaker Cox, please ensure the Equal Rights Amendment gets a vote on the full House floor.

Extra credit: Review Speaker Cox’s top donors and if you know someone who could be influential to Speaker Cox please reach out and encourage him/her to become an equality champion.

Virginia Senate 

Senator Thomas K. “Tommy” Norment, Jr., Senate Majority Leader

Background: Senator Norment sets the course for an Equal Rights Amendment ratification in 2019 depending upon which committee he selects to consider the issue. Ratification resolutions have passed the Senate five times since 2011 and in 2012, 2014, and 2015 Senator Norment voted in support of gender equality until a fallout with Democrats on the Senate floor in 2015. Since then, he has never supported it and in 2017 and 2018 assigned the resolution to the Senate Rules Committee where it is summarily quashed every session.

 

The ask: Senator Norment, in 2019 please assign the Equal Rights Amendment resolution to Senator Vogel, chair of the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee. Historically Senator Vogel and her committee ensured all Virginians were represented during a full Senate vote on the Equal Rights Amendment.

Extra credit: Review Senator Norment’s top donors and if you know someone who could be influential to Senator Norment please reach out and encourage him/her to become an equality champion.

Priority 2
Key Committee Chairs

Virginia House of Delegates

Delegate Mark L. Cole, Chair House Privileges & Elections Committee 

Background: Delegate Cole did not docket the Equal Rights Amendment during the 2018 session despite a request from committee members to give it a fair hearing. His main webpage lists his opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment as being limited to the deadline issue but does not reflect any analysis of the issue since 1994 (and it incorrectly lists an email from someone in the Attorney General’s office as a formal “opinion”). Key data points his opposition overlooks are:

  1. After Nevada ratified in 2017 the Congressional Research Service wrote a white paper for Congress which reviewed the variety of options for adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
  2. The limitation in scope and authority of a staffer’s email from the Attorney General’s office versus a formal opinion from the Attorney General. The May 11th opinion from Attorney General Mark Herring concluded, “It is my opinion that the lapse of the ERA’s original and extended ratification periods has not disempowered the General Assembly from passing a ratifying resolution.”

The ask: Has Delegate Cole reviewed the white paper from the Congressional Research Service and the opinion from Attorney General Mark Herring? Has either done anything to change his opposition to a floor vote on the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia?

Extra credit: Review Delegate Cole’s top donors and if you know someone who could be influential please reach out and encourage him/her to become an equality champion.

Delegate Margaret Bevans Ransone, Co-Chair House Privileges & Elections Committee 

Background: Delegate Ransone has never supported the Equal Rights Amendment and has reportedly told advocates she does not feel the need for a Constitutional Amendment because she has never experienced any gender discrimination during her lifetime. It is worth noting that she works for her father in a family business.

The ask: Delegate Ransone, please allow the Equal Rights Amendment to go to the full House floor for a vote.

Extra credit: Review Delegate Ransone’s top donors and if you know someone who could be influential please reach out and encourage him/her to become an equality champion.

Virginia Senate

Senator Ryan T. McDougle, Chair Senate Rules Committee 

Background: During the Senate Rules Committee hearing in 2018, Senator McDougle quoted from an unsourced, internal Senate memo to justify his classification of “Pass By Indefinitely” for the Equal Rights Amendment resolution (video here). He said David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, had given an opinion that the ERA was not properly before the states. Requests for a copy of this opinion went unanswered.

Considering the archivist is a librarian, a legal opinion seemed a stretch, so an advocate sent video of Senator McDougle’s speech to the archivist’s office. The response was, “The Archivist of the United States has not taken such a stance and has never issued an opinion on this matter either officially or unofficially.” Read the full response here.

Additionally, a May 11th opinion from Attorney General Mark Herring concluded, “It is my opinion that the lapse of the ERA’s original and extended ratification periods has not disempowered the General Assembly from passing a ratifying resolution.”

The ask: Has Senator McDougle reviewed the response from the archivist’s office and the opinion from Attorney General Mark Herring? Has either done anything to change his opposition to a floor vote on the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia?

Extra credit: Review Senator McDougle’s top donors and if you know someone who could be influential please reach out and encourage him/her to become an equality champion.

Priority 3
Committee Members of Rules – AND- P&E

Background: The following Virginia legislators are on both the Rules committee AND the Privileges and Elections committee in their respective chambers. Assuming a committee vote is taken in their chamber, these legislators will have the opportunity to weigh in on whether or not the Equal Rights Amendment will pass to the floor regardless of which committee is assigned the resolution. 

The ask: When you have an opportunity to vote on the Equal Rights Amendment in a committee hearing, please ensure it is passed from the committee to the floor.

Virginia House of Delegates

Delegate Timothy D. “Tim” Hugo

Delegate Riley Edward Ingram

Delegate S. Chris Jones

Delegate R. Steven “Steve” Landes

Virginia Senate 

Senator Bryce E. Reeves

Senator Frank M. Ruff, Jr.

Priority 4
Committee Members of Rules -OR- P&E

Background: The following Virginia legislators are on either the Rules committee OR the Privileges and Elections committee in their respective chambers. Assuming a committee vote is taken in their chamber, these legislators may have the opportunity to weigh in on whether or not the Equal Rights Amendment will pass to the floor regardless of which committee is assigned the resolution. 

The ask: If you have an opportunity to vote on the Equal Rights Amendment in a committee hearing, please ensure it is passed from the committee to the floor.

Virginia House of Delegates

PRIVILEGES AND ELECTIONS

Delegate Les R. Adams

Robert B. Bell III

Delegate H. F. “Buddy” Fowler, Jr.

Delegate J. A. “Jay” Leftwich, Jr.

Delegate Joseph C. “Joe” Lindsey – Delegate Lindsey joined us at the bus tour stop (ODU) to let us know he is supportive of Virginia’s ratification!

Delegate Israel D. O’Quinn

Delegate Larry N. “Nick” Rush

RULES

Delegate C. Todd Gilbert

Delegate Terry G. Kilgore

Delegate Barry D. Knight

Delegate Robert D. “Bobby” Orrock

Delegate R. Lee Ware, Jr.

Virginia Senate 

PRIVILEGES AND ELECTIONS

Senator A. Benton “Ben” Chafin, Jr.

Senator Amanda F. Chase

Senator John A. Cosgrove, Jr.

Senator William R. DeSteph, Jr.

Senator Mark J. Peake

RULES

Senator Charles W. Carrico, Sr.

Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr.

Senator Stephen D. “Steve” Newman

Senator Mark D. Obenshain

Senator William M. “Bill” Stanley, Jr.

Senator Frank W. Wagner