#AZGOP Ducks ERA Vote: If Not Now, When? (video)

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley
Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley proposes the Equal Rights Amendment.
Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley
Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley proposes the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Arizona House Democrats made history on April 27, 2017. Through a ninja parliamentary procedure, we forced members of the Arizona House of Representatives to voice their opinion on equal rights for women and, specifically, on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

I made a motion for immediate third reading of HCR2012 ratification; equal rights amendment, which temporarily caused muted chaos at the dais.  ERA backers in the Democratic Caucus had conferred with the rules attorneys and the Clerk in advance of the motion; so, we knew we were on solid parliamentary grounds.

Predictably, Speaker J.D. Mesnard offered a substitute amendment to recess, which stopped the up-or-down vote on the ERA. Democrats had anticipated this move on the chess board. By calling for a roll call vote on the substitute amendment, everyone opposed to the up-or-down vote on the ERA was put on record as stopping the vote. (Watch video clip of the motion, the quiet chaos that ensued, Mesnard’s motion, and my speech here. It will start automatically after a pause.)

During the vote explanation exercise, nearly every Democrat and several Republicans stood up and gave their opinion on the ERA, equal rights for women, equal pay for equal work, equal protection for women under the Constitution, the nuances of Article V of the Constitution, and the reasons why American women need the ERA (or not).

“I want to clarify that a vote for this substitute amendment to recess is really an up-or-down vote on the Equal Rights Amendment, ” I started.

“The Equal Rights Amendment is a simple, one-sentence statement: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.

“Members, there is a dramatic wage gap in the US between men and women. You may have heard the statistics that overall women earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. Over a lifetime that translates to a $500,000 in lost wages for the average working woman. The wage gap has narrowed only 13 cents per hour since 1980, I continued.

“At that rate, Arizona women will achieve pay equity in 2044—29 years from now. That’s actually good compared to women in the deep South who have to wait 80-90 years before the wage gap closes. That’s unacceptable. Inaction on the Equal Rights Amendment is unacceptable.”

For the Democrats, the argument focused on equal pay for equal work, the inherent unfairness of the deeply ingrained wage disparity in the US, and the need for equal protection for women under the Constitution.

Many of the Democrats talked about their daughters and granddaughters, as I did. My granddaughter, who started kindergarten this year, will be 35 before she attains pay equity if the wage gap continues to shrink at the current glacial pace. Although many of the Republican men have daughters– some as many as seven daughters– all of them voted for avoiding an up-or-down vote on the Equal Rights Amendment.  Of the eight Republican women, only Reps. Heather Carter and Michelle Ugenti-Rita were brave enough to buck their party and vote for equality and women’s rights.

As he talked about equality for his baby daughter, Rep. Reginold Bolding decried the deplorable wages for African American women, roughly 67 cents on the dollar compared to white men.

“Arizona has the opportunity to say we stand with women,” Bolding concluded.

Saying “I’m not being political, I’m being Constitutional,” Rep. Bob Thorpe, himself an Article V Constitutional Convention fan, suggested that women should “start over” with a new amendment since the deadline has passed. (Now that we are two states away from ratification, Of course, it’s time to move the goal post.) A few times in his speech, Thorpe apologized for “not knowing the facts.” Fun Fact: the long-running calls for the Constitutional Convention and the call for the ERA are both covered by Article V of the Constitution. Article V does not give Congress the power to set deadlines on the amendment process.

Rep. Athena Salman did have the facts about pay inequity from the New York Times: As Women Take Over a Male-Dominated Field, the Pay Drops.

“Women outnumber men in low-paying jobs like teaching and social work,” said Salman. Furthermore, pay declines when women start doing particular jobs. This is “inherently unfair.”

“Women’s work is not valued,” she continued. “We’ve been waiting for a very long time [for equality].”

Rep. Isela Blanc pointed out that Arizona has a long, progressive history when it comes to women’s rights. Thanks to Arizona’s Progressive founders, our state gave women the right to vote before the rest of the country. We also honor Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as one of our own.

Native American and Latino legislators talked about the lagging wages for their groups. Latinas make 55 cents on the dollar compared to white men, and Native American women make 58 cents on the dollar. Reps. Tony Navarrete and Eric Descheenie brought the issue home when they described the struggles of their Moms. Both men were raised by single mothers. A vote for equal pay for women is a vote for family stability. Low-wage jobs are dominated by women.

“Members, let’s join together today to tell the women of Arizona that we value their work and that they deserve equality,” I challenged the Republicans.

“Let’s make history and become the next state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Nevada ratified the ERA in March. The Illinois Legislature has been debating it this week.

“There’s no time limit on equality.

“The time is now for the Equal Rights Amendment.”

I want to thank everyone who helped make this happen. My seat-mate Rep. Randy Friese came up with the ninja parliamentary move. On the day that Nevada passed the ERA, he and I agreed that we wanted to find a way to push the ERA to the floor and get the Republicans on record regarding equal rights for women. I also want to thank my Fiesty Freshmen sisters Rep. Isela Blanc, Athema Salman, Kelli Butler, Mitzi Epstein, Kirsten Engel, and Winona Benally who said, “Hell, yes, let’s do this!” The entire Democratic Caucus stepped up to the plate to help out with speeches, social media and support– not to mention color-coordinated purple and white outfits. Also, the Rules attorneys and other staff advised us and made sure we did our ninja move correctly. This was a team effort. Thanks, everyone. Otra vez? You betcha.

Reality check: Women do make up 51% of the population, and we vote.

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley
Announcing the passage of the ERA in Nevada. Click on this link and go to video clip.
Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley
Announcing the Illinois Women’s March for ERA ratification by the Illinois Legislature. Click on this link and go to the video clip.
Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley
Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley proposes the Equal Rights Amendment.

Other coverage:

Arizona House Republicans Block Efforts To Vote On Equal Rights Amendment (KJZZ)

Equal Rights Amendment effort falls flat in Arizona Legislature (Arizona Republic)

GOP lawmakers stymie bid to vote on Equal Rights Amendment (Capitol Times)

It’s time Arizona recognizes equal rights for women (Capitol Times, 2016)

Illinois Senate takes up the ERA today, whither Arizona? (Blog for Arizona)

Arizona House recesses rather than debate the Equal Rights Amendment (Blog for Arizona)

Equal Rights Amendment Deserves Hearing In Arizona Legislature (Arizona Daily Independent)

Arizona House Republicans Block Equal Rights For Women (Arizona Daily Independent)

Cross-posted from PowersForThePeople.net.

For Legislative updates, check out Pamela Powers Hannley for House on Facebook.


  1. pamela did you find time to introduce a bill to stop lunch shaming of children who don’t have the money to pay for their lunches as new mexico legislature has done? if not now when? the education lobby is not interested ;but you should be.

  2. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to be conservative is to maintain existing views; sometimes referred to as a Traditionalist.
    In other words, conservatives (Republicans) tend to go with the status quo. They are the opposite of progressive. When given the opportunity, they will take a new or forward moving idea and push it backwards, reverting to earlier ideology.
    Republicans espouse some good and decent philosophy at times, such as family values. Unfortunately, they aren’t quick to embrace new ways of making them work. The issue of equal rights is a good example of conservatives fearing change that would actually benefit everyone, including families and there relationships with each other.

  3. We need to have an app like Resist Bot for the state. I find Resist Bot very helpful for national issues. I am very interested in seeing the ERA finally ratified. I lobbied for the ERA here in Arizona in the 1970s, and boy, did I learn a lot about misogynist attitudes!

    • Resist Bot for state would be very much welcomed.

      As a man with a wife, daughter, sister, and mother, thanks to you and Pamela Powers Hannley for working on the ERA. Throw in some cousins, aunts, and grandmas’, too.

      I find that men against the ERA tend to be insecure, both in regards to their own self worth and in matters of paternity.

      Especially paternity. Misogynists are obsessed with women’s wombs.

      • “I find that men against the ERA tend to be insecure, both in regards to their own self worth and in matters of paternity.”

        I see, Tom, people can’t possibly oppose the ERA unless there is something wrong with them. It couldn’t possibly be that, after 45 years and still no approval, there are valid reasons to be against it. It couldn’t be that, since it is opposed by both men and women, there are valid reasons to be against it.

        Well, I find that men who support the ERA tend to be insecure, both in regards to their own self worth and in matters of dealing with women.

        Especially dealing with women. Sycophants are obsessed with obtaining women’s approval in all things.

        • “Sycophants are obsessed with obtaining women’s approval in all things.”

          Are you saying that my belief that a woman deserves equal treatment is just my way of hitting on the babes?

          Conservative logic. Jump shrimp. Military intelligence.


          • “Are you saying that my belief that a woman deserves equal treatment is just my way of hitting on the babes?”

            Sometimes you are a little dense. I was simply mocking what you said about men who oppose the ERA by paraphrasing your Psych 101 analysis from the perspective of men who support the ERA. It was as meaningless as what you said. I guess I was just too subtle. Your mating habits had nothing to do with it…HOWEVER, it is interesting that you would interpret what I said as having something to do with you “hitting on the babes”…interesting, indeed.

          • And I was mocking you and it flew over your head.

            People who are against equal rights for anyone, women, LGBT’s, minorities, are always insecure.

            You fear losing something if someone else “gains” something. You want to feel superior to others, it gives you a cover for your own shortcomings.

            The desire to control women is different from other forms of oppression, though, because women have the power to bring life into the world, and some men want to control that power.

            Treating women as equals takes nothing away from me, I lose nothing.

            Hey, I’ve even been to dinner with women, just us two, alone, when my wife wasn’t around and unlike that creepy Mike Pence guy, we didn’t lose control and start banging it out in the restaurant or whatever he thinks happens.

            What a freak. No one does sexual repression like a conservative, you guys are the best! Go team!

          • “And I was mocking you and it flew over your head.”

            You’re right! It did fly right over my head. I thought you were being serious…

            “People who are against equal rights for anyone, women, LGBT’s, minorities…”

            I have never said I was against equal rights because I am not. I am, however, opposed to the ERA. They are not the same thing.

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