House Joint Resolution H.3391 was pre-filed in the SC House of Representatives in December of 2018 for the 2019-2020 legislative session. The bill has support of both Republican and Democratic sponsors and currently sits in the Constitutional Laws Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.
Two Senate Joint Resolutions were pre-filed for the 2020 legislative session on December 11, 2019. Senator Tom Davis in coordination with Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter sponsored bill S.901. On the same day, the four women of the Senate — Margie Bright Matthews, Mia S. McLeod, Katrina Frye Shealy and Sandy Senn — filed S.918. Both resolutions have bipartisan support.
Because there are two resolutions, some reconciliation will need to be done that will probably result in only one bill going forward. A similar process happened in the House, resulting in H.3391 continuing, rather than H.3340. Unfortunately, not all sponsors from H.3340 have signed onto H.3391. To avoid that happening in the Senate, and until we know which bill will go forward, we should ask Senators to sign onto both.
Both bills will need to pass through their respective Judiciary Committees before a vote will be held on the chamber floor. If your legislator is on one of those committees, they should receive top priority.
To find your Legislator(s), click here.
Check to see if you Representative is on the House Judiciary Committee. If not, you'll find them in the House.
Check to see if your Senator is on the Senate Judiciary Committee. If not, you'll find them in the Senate.
For background, our ERA Brochure can help you find your voice.
For pre-formatted letters that need immediate attention, go to ACTION ALERT!!!.
How to Talk/Write to Representatives
Salutation: “Representative” is used by the House; and "Senator" is used by the Senate.
The first thing you should do is settle on what phrasing works for you. Once you have a basic letter, you can customize it depending upon which chamber it's going to and what the particular ask might be. If your legislator is already a sponsor, a thank you note asking how you can help is great. Our legislators don't get thanked enough for the work they do.
Letters do not have to be long, in fact they are more likely to get read if they are short and concise. Below are some suggestions to get you started.
Positive opening statement:
- As your constituent, I am writing to ask that you support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in South Carolina. I understand there are Joint Resolutions in both chambers (S.901 and S.918 in the Senate; and H.3391 in the House). I would like you to support this important legislation.
- I am so pleased to hear that South Carolina has the opportunity to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. How amazing it would be to ratify it on the 100th year anniversary of women getting the vote! What can I do to help?
- Thank you Representative/Senator _______________ for beginning this conversation about equality. For women, girls and families in the state of South Carolina, this recognition is long overdue.
- The Equal Rights Amendment is a moral issue that requires political action. I am so pleased and grateful that the South Carolina Assembly is supporting this issue. What can I do to help?
Defining the problem:
- Equality of rights for women in the United States is not enshrined in the constitution; it is merely a matter of legal interpretation. While existing laws do provide some protection, laws are subject to interpretation and revocation by whichever legislative body, court or administration is currently in power.
- The ERA would provide a fundamental legal remedy against sex discrimination for both women and men. State laws are not uniform and are subject to interpretation and change. Critical provisions such as the right of women to vote and the end of slavery were amended to the Constitution so they could not easily be taken away.
- In 2011, when asked if the U.S. Constitution protects against sex discrimination, Justice Antonin Scalia replied: “Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.” The Equal Rights Amendment is needed for that protection.
- Race, Religion and Nation of Origin are protected classes of citizenship because they have a history of being discriminated against. The history of discrimination against women, on the basis of sex, is well documented. The only way to protect against discrimination is by having the Constitution guarantee that protection.
Consider adding a personal note. Here's mine:
The ERA came back on my radar when Nevada ratified in 2017. I hadn’t thought of it for years, but their ratification brought back my mother’s work in the ’70’s and how heartbroken she was when it failed. I remember her telling my father “I guess I’ll have to get used to being a second class citizen.” If there’s a chance to finish her work, I’m in. Barbara Fry 1/1/2020
- The only remedy to define the legal status of women is to amend the Constitution to protect it. The ERA would provide a solid foundation for that protection by applying a single legal standard to cases of sex discrimination. All courts — regardless of jurisdiction — would be obliged to use that single standard in making their rulings.
- I want to thank you so much supporting the ERA. Ratification is long overdue.
- Please sponsor the ERA to show you believe in equal rights for all. I will support you in every way I can.
- The ERA is 24 simple words. It requires no funding or reconciliation. The resolutions in both chambers are identical. A simple belief and vote for equality is all that's needed.
Feel free to pick up comments verbatim from each of the sections above to blend with your words to make your own message. Repetition is good. The more they hear the same message, the greater the likelihood that it will get through.
Be sure to add your street address and zip code after your signature.
The Mailing address for all House members is PO Box 11867 Columbia SC 29211. The mailing address for all Senators is PO Box 142 Columbia SC 29202. Mailing to Home Addresses can be very effective as well. Those are listed in their bios and can be accessed in our House and Senate Scorecard.
Please share your letter with us, as well as any copies of letters that businesses, churches or organizations have sent. We will create an archive that can be used to help others to support our efforts. To see a copy of one of our legislator letters, click here.
Questions or need help … Contact us at email@example.com.