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Now that the Senate voted in favor of ERA resolution SJ289 (on 1/15), the focus is on the House. If you have a Republican legislator representing you in the Virginia House of Delegates, you are in a district with an important voice to lend to the process!
Also check out our interactive map of priority House of Delegates districts. If you are able, make an appointment with your legislator (or the legislative aide) in Richmond during the month of January and join us for some on the ground advocacy! You can also call or email anytime, and often.
This list below is key Virginia Delegates who have not previously signed on to co-patron the Equal Rights Amendment resolutions (and are not signed on to 2019’s resolutions).
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.
Path to the Floor
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.
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.
Delegate Todd Gilbert, House Majority Leader
Background: Delegate Gilbert, as the House Majority Leader, will be very involved in the Republican caucus decision as to whether or not they allow the Equal Rights Amendment to get a full vote on the House floor. The Republicans in the House of Delegates are generally in lock step with important issues and it is expected their caucus will make this decision together.
The ask: Delegate Gilbert, please ensure the Equal Rights Amendment gets a vote on the full House floor.
Extra credit: Review Delegate Gilbert’s top donors and if you know someone who could be influential to Delegate Gilbert, please reach out and encourage him/her to become an equality champion.
House Privileges & Elections Committee
Delegate Mark L. Cole, Chair
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:
- 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.
- 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: Will Delegate Cole docket HJ579? Has Delegate Cole reviewed the white paper from the Congressional Research Service and the opinion from Attorney General Mark Herring?
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
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.
Background: The following Virginia legislators are on the House Privileges and Elections committee. These legislators will have the opportunity to weigh in on whether or not the Equal Rights Amendment will pass to the House floor.
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.
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!