Deadline Looms: ERA Ratification Assigned to Judiciary Committee in AZ Legislature

by Pamela Powers Hannley

Rep. Victoria Steele’s (D-9) bill to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (HCR2016) was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee late last week. (You’ll remember that mid-week, I reported it was languishing on the desk of House Speaker Andy Tobin.)

This week is the last week for bills to be heard by committees of the Arizona Legislature. Currently, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet onThursday, Feb. 20, 2014. ERA ratification is not on the agenda, but– hey– it’s only Monday. Agendas and committee meeting dates routinely shift around in the Arizona Legislature. Arizona women deserve economic equality. It's time to make some phone calls to Phoenix!

Bills can be killed in multiple ways: they can be voted down in committee, voted down by the Legislature, or just plain ignored by the Speaker or the committee chair. If the HCR2016 isn’t heard this week, it will die in committee. Arizona women deserve economic equality. Tucson's favorite "moderate" LD9 Rep. Ethan Orr is on the Judiciary Committee; he could be an important swing vote on the ERA.  [Contact information for committee members after the jump.]

You Have the Power 

The ERA provides economic equality for women and would end wage discrimination against women. It deserves to be heard and debated by the entire Arizona Legislature. Nationwide, the ERA needs to be ratified by only three states. Arizona is one of the states that didn’t ratify the ERA back in the 1970s.

This is where you come in. It’s time for action. Call, email, and/or Tweet Judiciary Committee Eddie Farnsworth and ask him to put the ERA on the Judiciary Committee’s agenda.

After that, call, email, and/or Tweet committee members and urge them to vote to allow ERA ratification to be voted on by the whole legislature. The committee’s three Democrats– Hale (a Navajo), Quezada, and Contreras– should be a shoe-in on ERA ratification, since minority women suffer much higher rates of wage discrimination than white women. (But they still need to hear from you.)

Since the Republicans are the majority party in the Legislature, they also have the majority on all of the committees. The ERA has bipartisan support, with four of the 22 sponsors being Republicans. LD9 Rep. Ethan Orr, who’s “moderate” Republican street cred has been challenged, is on the Judiciary Committee and is a co-sponsor of LD9 “seat mate” Steele’s ERA bill. The ERA needs bipartisan support from Republicans to get out of committee, and Orr could be an important swing vote. Last week, it looked as if ERA ratification might not even be assigned to a committee. Did the 257 Facebook shares and 21 Tweets of my blog post help move this bill? I don’t know, but I’d like to think so. I’d like to think that if enough people contact the Judiciary Committee this week that we can move the ERA one step closer to being law. The ball is in your court, people.

Here is a list of the House Judiciary Committee members.

Eddie Farnsworth, Chair, R-12, efarnsworth@azleg.gov, 602-926-5735
Justin Pierce, Vice Chair, R25, jpierce@azleg.gov, 602-926-5495
John Allen, R-15, jallen@azleg.gov, 602-926-4916
Ethan Orr, R-9 (co-sponsor of ERA ratification), eorr@azleg.gov, 602-926-3235, @EthanforHouse
Doris Goodale, R-25, dgoodale@azleg.gov, 602-926-5408, @dgoodale
Lupe Contreras, D-19, lcontreras@azleg.gov, 602-926-5284
Martin Quezada, D-29 (co-sponsor of ERA ratification), mquezada@azleg.gov, 602-926-5911, @RepQuezada29
Albert Hale, D-7, ahale@azleg.gov, 602-926-4323

If the ERA doesn’t make it out of committee, remember these votes in November when the whole Arizona Legislature is up for re-election.

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