The resolution ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment cleared its final legislative hurdle Monday, passing the Nevada Assembly by a two to one margin, 28-14.
As in the Senate, SJR2 passed on a party line vote with a single Republican joining the majority. In the Senate, that Republican was Heidi Gansert of Reno.
In the Assembly on Monday, it was Reno’s Jill Tolles who said she was supporting ratification of the ERA in honor of former legislator and Nevada’s first female lieutenant governor Sue Wagner, “and the countless others who fought for women and to stand in support of the declaration that the state of Nevada stands for equality.”
Tolles said her mother was a single mom who had to fight to become one of the first female stockbrokers in a male dominated industry. She said Nevada has passed more than two dozen anti discrimination laws but is one of just nine states that hasn’t voted on the ERA either on the federal or state level.
As in the Senate, the opposition argued that the ERA issue is dead because the federal deadline for action passed in 1982, despite testimony from Legislative Counsel that’s up to Congress to decide because Congress alone decides what issues to take up.
Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, D-Las Vegas, said 97 years after women won the right to vote, they still don’t have a statement of equality in the Constitution.
“There are forces out there who want to stand in the way of progress, stand in the way of equality instead of doing the right thing,” she said.
Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Wellington, said she was “deeply disturbed by the political theatrics.” She said the issue of female equality is settled in law and that lawmakers should not be wasting time on symbolic votes.
“Symbolism or not, it’s time to send the message,” said Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas.
Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, said his biggest concern was the “massive shift of power from the states to the federal government” the ERA would bring. He said the issue should be put back before Nevada’s voters who rejected it in 1978 to see if they have changed their minds.
The ratification resolution now returns to the Senate but only for a confirmation of a technical amendment. That amendment simply adds a list of Assembly members as co-sponsors to the measure.
After that, SJR2 will be forwarded to the President of the U.S. Senate and the Speaker of the House, certifying Nevada as the 36th state to ratify the ERA. Just two more states are needed to get the ratification to the 38 states needed to amend the U.S. Constitution.