There is an ideological perfect storm brewing in the Arizona Legislature. A memorandum supporting extension of the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has been assigned to a committee where five out of seven members have pledged to protect and fight for the rights of fetuses over the rights of women.
Not content with winning the right to vote in 1920, women’s rights advocates proposed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) 91 years ago. The ERA was introduced during every Congressional session between 1923 and 1972 and finally passed nearly 70 years after it was originally proposed. In the 1970s, there was a ground war at the state level to get 38 state legislatures to ratify the ERA in order for it to become a Constitutional Amendment. The ERA fell 3 states short of ratification; Arizona is one of a handful of states that never ratified the ERA.
Fast forward to 2013, the ground war for women’s equality has resumed at the state level with ERA ratification proposals six states– Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Virginia, and now … Arizona.; Nevada and North Carolina plan to hear it in 2014. LD9 Rep. Victoria Steele has introduced HCM2006, a memorandum from the State of Arizona asking the federal government to extend the deadline for ratification of the ERA, and and HCR2016, a fill to ratify the ERA..
In addition to Steele, the ERA memorandum has 18 co-sponsors– including two Republican women, Kelly Townsend (LD14) and Karen Fann (LD1). Below is the complete list. Although Southern Arizona is well-represented on this list with Steele, Wheeler, Gabaldon, Saldate, and Pencrazi, where are the rest of the Democrats and the “moderate” Repulbican? (Should I name names, or can you figure out who’s missing here? If you live in LD9, LD10, LD2, or LD3, you might want to ask your representatives and senators why their names are missing from this list.)
Why Do We Need the ERA?
Back in the 1970s, many people told us that we didn’t need the ERA because American women were obviously equal to men. Well, obviously, when you look at chronic pay inequality and persistent poverty, women are not treated equally in the US.
The economy is repeatedly cited as the most important issue to women. Economic inequality is at the crux of the problem. More women work part time. More women work at low-wage jobs. More women live in poverty. Single moms and their childrenare more likely to receive government assistance.
Politifact recently examined the issue of gender pay disparity and concluded that, outside of other contributing factors such as career choice or full versus part time status, 40% of wage disparity is due directly to gender discrimination and cannot be attached to other external factors. It is also true that while 72% of Americans believe The Constitutional Equal Rights Amendment is already law (it is not), 97% of Americans believe it should be.
Will Arizona Republicans Allow the ERA to Advance?
Although the ERA has broad support among citizens, HCM2006 faces an uphill battle the Arizona Legislature. It has been assigned to the Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility Committee, but it is unclear if the chair will allow it to be heard. (Any piece of legislation can be killed in committee– by not hearing it or by voting it down.)
The Republicans on this committee are a very conservative group: Chair Justin Olson,Vice Chair Steve Smith, David M. Gowan Sr., Debbie Lesko, and Carl Seel all have received a 0% approval rating from NARAL/Arizona Right to Choose and high marks from the Goldwater Institute, a right-wing, small government think tank. In contrast, all three Democrats on the committee– Bruce Wheeler, Lupe Chavira Contreras, andJonathan Larkin — have received 100% approval rating from NARAL/Arizona Right to Choose and low marks from the Goldwater Institute. Contreras could soon loose his positive rating from NARAL because he recently signed the Arizona Center for Policy’sfetal personhood procolamation; in fact, all of the Republicans on the Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility have signed the fetal personhood proclamation. (Click on their names in this paragraph to see their Project Vote Smart Summaries.)
Contact Committee Members
If you believe that American women should have equal rights and equal pay, start making some phone calls. If you don’t see your legislators’ names on the sponsorship list, call them. Committee Chair Justin Olson and other members of the committee hear from you– particularly if you live their districts. Ask committee members when it will be heard and encourage them to let it out of committee. Here are the members of the Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility Committee. Click on their names to get their Legislative pages and their contact information.
Lupe Chavira Contreras (D- LD19)David M. Gowan Sr. (R- LD14 and Republican House Majority Leader)Jonathan Larkin (D- LD30)Debbie Lesko (R- 21)Justin Olson (R- 25, Committee Chair)Carl Seel (R- 20)Steve Smith (R- 11, Vice Chair)Bruce Wheeler (D- LD10 and Minority Whip)
You Have the Power
This is an election year. Arizona’s entire state government– Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Public Instruction, Attorney General and the whole Arizona Legislature– plus Arizona’s Congressional representatives will be voted on in November 2014. Congressional representatives and State Legislators, alike, have skin in the ERA ratification game. To pass the ERA, Congress must vote to extend the deadline, and three state legislatures must vote to ratify it. I applaud Rep. Steele for having the guts and conviction to bring the ERA forward.
Ask every candidate: Do you stand for equal rights for women? Do you believe women should receive equal pay for equal work? If they say “no” to either one or both of these questions or if they dodge, ask them to explain their support for continued sex and wage discrimination.
I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth--not just people who agree with me or look like me. I believe that people who promote religiosity but use violence, intimidation, and lies to force their ideas upon other people are not following the teachings of any religious leader.
I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. In addition to being a blogger, I am a published author, photographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife.
My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post. I am a proud member of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA).
CWA devised a simple plan for which they were uniquely suited: drag TPP out of the shadows and into the light - one city at a time - using a medium they understand intimately: Daily Newspapers!
Two CWA members - Dave Felice in Denver, CO and Madelyn Elder in Portland, OR have started the ball rolling. We just need to keep up the momentum leading up to a big day of petition deliveries in January.
Step 1 is to send an Op-Ed to your Daily Newspaper.
If you have a Twitter account you can help stop Fast Track on the TPP. Sign-in to your Twitter account and copy and paste the Tweets from our Twitter storm. Or you can copy your favorite Tweet and then click on the map and Tweet your legislator.
Twitter Storm Tweets for Tuesday, January 28th @ 9pm Eastern
Tweets for the special State of the Union Twitter Storm will be posted on January 28th at 8pm EST. Check back for the new Tweets.
Click here to quickly find your member of Congress by putting in your home address. This site also features a one-click link to the same information in Spanish
Then call and ask them to oppose Fast Track on the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Sample script is below.
“I'm a constituent, and I am strongly opposed to my representative giving away Congress’ constitutional authority to control our trade policy. We send people to Congress to stand up for us, not give away their power to stop more American job offshoring and protect us from dangerous imported food that doesn’t meet our safety standards. This latest so-called trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), would not only do that - but also ban Buy American and increase our medicine prices. That’s why it’s crucial that Congress not give away its authority to make sure every provision of TPP is in our interest before this massive deal can be signed. Good trade deals don’t need to be railroaded through Congress using Fast Track. I hope my representative will commit to opposing this outrageous legislation.”
Send an email directly to your Senators and Representatives courtesy of our partners at CWA. Enter your zip code and your members are automatically selected.
MoveOn.org Petition - Congress Don't Renew Fast Track
Pulic Citizen Petition - Congress Must Reject Fast Track Authority
MoveOn.org Petition - Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership
CREDO Petition - Stop the Massive Corporate Power Grab
If your Senator(s) and/or Representative is not currently opposed to Fast Track, they may not completely understand all the implications. Nothing sends a stronger message to a Congressional member than a personal visit to a district office by a voter with a written request. Phone calls and emails are incredibly important but nothing gets attention like a personal visit. Our Educate Congress page has information and a sample letter. Print the letter, sign it, deliver it.
Congress only has one more week in session this year, the week of December 9. So far our pressure to stop the TPP has been working. Visit Flush the TPP for calling scripts and links to Members of the Ways and Means Committee.
Flush the TPP