BIG!, HUGE!, ERA News Coming this Week

UpDate: Take backsies! The Big Huge ERA News is NOT NOT NOT Coming. Postponed. Indefinitely. Watch this space.

BIG!, HUGE!, ERA News Coming this Week.

Hop over the Virginia ERA Network Blog: Pay close attention to your feminist news feeds and sources on Wednesday, around 12:30 pm EDT or so. Maybe tune in to C-Span or MSNBC. You might have to hunt around. It is the ERA after all, and the mainstream press is not hot on that particular trail.

The 1st Woman President Needs Equal Rights!!!

Dear Virginia,

Happy ERA Monday, and Happy Presidents Day!! It’s a double day, and I have a double request of you.

First: Del. Mark Cole holds an open house at his office tomorrow, Feb. 17. Activists will be present as the weather allows,
but snow can’t stop email, or phone calls!!!

Click here for a post with a great email for Chair Cole and his contact information. Tell him the ERA MUST BE PUT ON THE DOCKET and moved into the full Privileges and Elections Committee.

Please, send the same email to Speaker Howell.

This committee is heavily resistant. We must push hard this week! On the same post, you can contact the whole committee.

When pressed, their objections tend to crumble down to traditional and fundamentalist forms of sexism. Show them that’s the only reason they could refuse us our rights.

Feel some tweetage coming on? Yeah, me too.

To tweet the House: @VaHouse.
To tweet the House GOP: @vahousegop.
To tweet the Hosue Dems: @VAHouseDems.

1st Woman #POTUS deserves full #civilrights, #RatifyERA, SJ 216 on the P&E docket!!

(*)   (*)   (*)

Second, in honor of Presidents Day, I ask you for one more action.

The fundamental political difference between the first woman president and all the men before her is that she might not enjoy fully protected civil rights under the Constitution she will swear to defend and protect.

Clinton? Warren? … Clinton/Warren?
Warren/Clinton? President Seal
Who knows.

This week, let’s focus on the Senate.

Send them this email:
Email Page for Senator Warner
Email Page for Senator Kaine
Subject: Please Support Women’s Civil Rights, Lift the Deadline on Ratification

Dear Honorable Senator _______,

You serve with women who swear to protect and defend the Constitution, but are not fully protected by it. Our nation’s daughters have long risked their lives in our wars, but are not yet fully protected by that Constitution.

On this Presidents Day, consider: our next president could well be a woman — who still may not be fully invested with the civil rights enshrined in our laws.

This is an inconsistency that should not stand for one more year. This March when Senator Cardin offers a new resolution, please sign on to support it and then encourage your colleagues to do so — especially friendlier Republicans. Cardin aims for vigorous bi-partisan support.

Ratification of Equal Rights Amendment would accomplish one civil goal: it would mend the patchwork of laws that currently tack together the rag doll of women’s citizenship.

I urge you to join which would remove the historically aberrant and wholly arbitrary deadline on ratification.

Justices Scalia and Ginsberg agree on one thing: the 14th Amendment clearly applies only to “male citizens” and “male inhabitants” of the Republic. What “rights” women do have are only supported by laws and statutes — all of which can change given a hostile political wind.

Our nation’s women are caught in a stalemate. States wait for a signal from Congress, Congress for a signal from the states. Be first, lead, honor the nation’s women with fully established civil rights. Assure us that a future female president will not be so civilly vulneralby as women are today. Send the signal — it’s time for ratification. Lift the deadline.

Let the Constitution protect and defend our women as our women do the Constitution.

With my lasting gratitude for your service to our state and the nation,
Your Name
City, State

New Foremothers Oral History Videos Up

New Foremothers Oral History Videos Up.


You’re Invited to Women’s Lobby Day, Feb. 4.

Wednesday, February 4, is Women’s Lobby Day at the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond. Let’s show our strength and numbers by being there and speaking up.

What happens Wednesday? You can get an up-close look at the legislative process. Go to committee meetings, visit your elected representatives and other decision-makers, and see the House and Senate chambers. Join a terrific group of women for lunch (or have lunch on your own) and then visit the lieutenant governor’s office, arranged by the League of Women Voters.

The day starts at 8:30 am at the League of Women Voters Legislative Roundtable, 4th Floor at the General Assembly Building at 9th and Broad Streets. Legislators and advocates will address the roundtable on a variety of issues.

Please take a moment to be sure you have your delegate’s and senator’s contact information, which is here (type your address in the right corner). Please contact me if you have questions.

Important bills that Virginia NOW supports this session include:

The Equal Rights Amendment

Reporting Sexual Assault on Campuses

Repeal of Mandatory Ultrasound Prior to an Abortion

Legally Allowing Breast-feeding in Public Places

Removing Firearms From Domestic Abusers

Non-Partisan Redistricting

Expanded Definition of Stalking

Thank you for reading this and for all you do every day for equality. Looking forward to seeing you Wednesday.

Marj Signer, VA NOW Legislative V-P

Correction: About those bill numbers

Correction: About those bill numbers. Not an emergency, but you might choose not to mention the federal bill numbers. — SR

Session opens this week: Turn The VOLUME UP!!!

“It isn’t over. There is much more to do.”
Alice Paul’s last words 

This past Sunday was Alice Paul’s 130th Birthday.  Rights are never given, they are claimed and

When Alice Paul first introduced the ERA, this was the most popular phone in the US.

taken. Our foremothers worked for over 70 years for suffrage, and we are part of this great tradition of courage and grit. It’s in their spirit and honor that I ask you to turn that volume all the way up!

First, I ask you again to reach out to the Privileges and Elections Committee in Virginia to insist that they bring the ERA through to the floor of the House of Delegates for a public and proud vote! (Click here for that guide.) It’s vital that we keep the heat on these legislators in particular.

Let’s get the ERA to the Floor!!

But, we still need that roaring crowd cheering for the ERA to the ears of all our state senators and delegates. On the Contact Congress & General Assembly page of our blog, I have updated the contact information for the 2015 session members at both the state and federal level.

Second, please contact the members of Congress and ask them to support removing the ratification deadline on the Equal Rights Amendment by supporting H.J. Res. 43 (House) and S.J. Res.15 (Senate). Suggest they encourage deadline removal to colleagues in their caucus, across the aisle, and in the other house. (See Media & Messaging for more detail.)

Third, let’s continue to email / Facebook / tweet / call our state level representatives.They equate volume and consistency of contact with voter interest and urgency. So, let’s create that sense of urgency for them.
Here’s a list of some representatives we have not yet contacted. The whole kit is over on the blog. Click on their names, and you can access their websites, which gets you to all their social media. If you have the time, I invite you to go beyond this list, and start repeating contacts. Feel free to rinse and repeat as often as you like. As I say — roar of the crowd!

What to Say:
(adapt to representative’s house, embellish at will)
Dear Honorable (Senator / Delegate) ___________,
I urge you to support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in this session of the General Assembly. Your colleague, (Sen. Ebbin / Del. Surovell), is sponosoring (SJ 216 / HJ 495), and I encourage you to support and vote for this bill. Both you and the Commonwealth of Virginia deserve to stand proudly in affirmation of the constitutional equality of women.
With my thanks for your service,
Your Name
Your Address

 Delegates to email: 

Rust, Thomas Davis      
Scott, Edward T.          
Sickles, Mark D.           
Simon, Marcus B.         
Spruill, Lionell, Sr.        
Stolle, Christopher P.    
Sullivan, Richard C. (Rip), Jr
Surovell, Scott A.         
Taylor, Scott W.           
Torian, Luke E.           
Toscano, David J.        
Tyler, Roslyn C.          
Villanueva, Ronald A.  
Ward, Jeion A.           
Ware, R. Lee, Jr.        
Watts, Vivian E.         
Webert, Michael J.      
Wilt, Tony O.              
Wright, Thomas C., Jr.
Yancey, David E.        
Yost, Joseph R.           

Senators to email:
Saslaw, Richard L. D 35
Smith, Ralph K. R 19
Stanley, William M., Jr. R 20
Stosch, Walter A. R 12
Stuart, Richard H. R 28
Vogel, Jill Holtzman R 27
Wagner, Frank W. R 7
Watkins, John C. R 10
Wexton, Jennifer T. D 33
I cannot thank you enough for your work. I know how tight time is for all of us. You have my greatest admiration.

We’re the background noise, but we need to be consistent. Members of the Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition will be in Richmond consistently over the session. Advocates from VA NOW and Women Matter will be especially focused on the ERA, and will be making personal contact with legislators and their staff daily. Our efforts will go a long way to supporting their presence.
Again, my thanks to Richmond Sunlight for your amazing work! I could not do this without you!

For Women!
Simone Roberts
Web Editor/Historian/ERA Coordinator   
Virginia NOW
Virginia ERA Network

Announcing the Women’s Equality Coalition — 2015

Virginia NOW is proud and excited to be a founding member of the Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition. This group of some of Virginia’s most active and powerful advocacy organizations will ask our members to raise your voices, and get your fingers moving to support legislation essential to all women and communities in the Commonwealth. Here’s what we’ll be working on:

The Virginia Women’s Equality Agenda

  1. Promoting women’s health and safety by repealing Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound law, closing the Medicaid coverage gap, and ensuring that survivors of domestic violence are not driven into poverty.
  2. Advancing women’s economic opportunity by making sure women receive equal pay for equal work, a living wage to support their families, and paid sick days so they can care for themselves and their children.
  3. Protecting democratic participation by ensuring that Virginia women can cast their votes without unequal or undue barriers.

Are you ready to stand with us? Become a citizen co-sponsor of the 2015 Virginia Women’s Equality Agenda now!

Legislation to Achieve this Agenda

Women’s Health and Safety

  • Repeal the mandatory ultrasound statute (SB733 and HB1524)
    Health care decisions should be between a woman, her family, her doctor, her faith — or simply her own conscience — NOT politicians. Politicians
    should not interfere in private medical decisions.
  • Close the coverage gap (Included in Governor McAuliffe’s proposed amendments)
    For millions of women, Medicaid makes the difference between access to cancer screenings and birth control or going
    without. If Virginia fails to expand Medicaid, 112,642 women of reproductive age will fall into the coverage gap.
  • Protect birth control access (Not yet filed)
    The vast majority of women use birth control during their lifetime but more than a third has struggled to afford it. No
    one’s boss should be able to dictate her health care decisions.
  • Provide unemployment benefits for victims of domestic violence who are forced to leave their job (HB1430)
    Victims of domestic violence should have to suffer again from losing economic security.

Economic Opportunity

  • Ensure equal pay (SB772)
    Women deserve to be paid fairly. It’s that simple. Ensuring women are compensated fairly is a vital step in building a
    Virginia that works for everyone.
  • Expand access to paid sick days (Not yet filed)
    Everybody gets sick, but not everybody can afford to take time off to get better or care for a sick kid. Over one million
    Virginia workers don’t have a paid sick day. That means when they or a family member get sick, they have to choose
    between jeopardizing public health or risking their family’s economic security.
  • Raise the minimum wage (SB681)
    Women who work hard and play by the rules should be able to afford to live with dignity and raise a family. Six in 10 low
    wage workers are women and 300,000 kids live in a household that would see a income increase from raising the wage.
  • Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (HJ495 and SJ216)
    Sex discrimination should get the highest level of strict judicial scrutiny, just as race discrimination does, but it currently
    receives only a heightened level of intermediate scrutiny. Only a federal ERA can provide the highest and broadest level of legal protection against sex discrimination. (See also Virginia ERA Network for our ratification focus.)
  • Democratic Participation
  • Establish no-fault in-person absentee voting (SB677)
    For many women, juggling work, school, and childcare to get to the polls on Election Day is simply too much. Expanding
    the opportunities to vote will expand women’s participation in our democracy and our ability to make our voices heard.
  • Ensure impartial election maps. Voters should choose their elected officials, not the other way around. In too many parts of Virginia, women don’t have a say in choosing their representatives because the election outcome has already been rigged.




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