Today marks the end of our work in the 2019-2020 legislative session to get the ERA ratified. We hope, because of our effort, South Carolina women will have a stronger voice in matters of equality going forward. But today, we accept that the ERA is just not going to be ratified this year.
That’s because we have passed the mysterious and incredible hard to verify "cross-over date," where a bill has to move from one statehouse chamber to the other to be considered eligible for passing in a given legislative session. That date, as near as we can determine, is Friday, April 10th.
We did have good momentum in the Senate. Thanks to the four women senators (and Senator Tom Davis). Joint resolution S.918 moved out of subcommittee and looked as though the Judiciary Committee would send it to the Senate floor. But COVID-19 interrupted the momentum — as it rightfully should have — and we were all sent home. Frustrating but understandable.
But there are still things we can do.
For instance, Equal Means ERA SC has joined an amicus brief along with ERA groups in Georgia and Louisiana in support of Commonweath of Virginia v. Ferrerio, the case challenging the National Archivist decision to not certify Virginia’s ratification. As a “friend of the court,” we are showing our support.
We can also still work to support the removal of the deadline that the US House has already passed and now stands before the Senate with 49 votes in support. Proposed by Senator Ben Cardin with 48 cosponsors, its passage would be the cleanest way to get the ERA enacted. (BTW — of the 27 amendments made to the Constitution in the past 233 years, only four had deadlines. Click here for the story on that.)
And, since Senator Lindsey Graham has refused to acknowledge S.J.Res.6 in his role as Judiciary Chair — AND — because he has publicly said he does not support the ERA, our best chance at getting the deadline removed would be to remove "him" from office in November. His opponent in the upcoming election — Jaime Harrison — has a very good chance of doing just that and deserves your support. Please acquaint yourself with Jaime, donate to his campaign and volunteer.
And we still need to find out where your individual SC state senator and representative stand (again, good information to know before November elections!). You can check that out on our House and Senate Scorecards, and get the contact info you need to confirm. Should we come back next year, knowing who’s for as well as who's against us will put us further ahead.
We can all be proud of the work we’ve done and the progress we’ve made. So let’s give ourselves a pat on the back, each other a virtual hug, take a deep breath, and STAY HOME to get over this horrible virus. We certainly are all in this together.