Why we need the Equal Rights Amendment

URGENT UPDATE: There’s still a chance we can pass the ERA this session. Delegate Ayala has introduced a bill to allow a floor vote on the ERA. The vote is in FIVE DAYS. Call you Delegate!

Network NoVA believes these are 8 Delegates to contact:

  • Speaker Cox (804) 698-1066 / DelKCox@house.virginia.gov
  • Tim Hugo (804) 698-1040 / DelTHugo@house.virginia.gov
  • Chris Stolle (804) 698-1083 / DelCStolle@house.virginia.gov
  • Roxann Robinson (804) 698-1027 / DelRRobinson@house.virginia.gov
  • Jay Leftwich (804) -698-1078 /DelJLeftwich@house.virginia.gov
  • Chris Jones (R) 804-698-1076 / DelCJones@house.virginia.gov
  • Bob Thomas (804) 698-1028 / DelBThomas@house.virginia.gov
  • David Yancey (804) 698-1094 / DelDYancey@house.virginia.gov

Why do we need the ERA when we already have the EPC?

My opponent, Senator Bryce Reeves, just voted against the Equal Rights Amendment. I disagree with his vote. Why do we need the Equal Rights Amendment when we already have the 14th amendment, which says nobody is denied equal protection under the law? It’s because the Supreme Court doesn’t think the equal protection clause protects sex as strongly as it protects race, religion, or country of origin.

The US Supreme Court decides whether or not a law is constitutional. If it’s unconstitutional, the law gets thrown out. The way SCOTUS evaluates a discriminatory law under 14A is by dividing laws into three tiers of scrutiny: strict, intermediate, and rational basis.

Strict scrutiny is the strongest tier. A law evaluated under strict scrutiny is only constitutional if it’s necessary for a compelling state interest AND as narrowly tailored as possible. Discriminatory laws reviewed under strict scrutiny are usually thrown out. Race and religion are protected under strict scrutiny, but shockingly, women are only protected under intermediate scrutiny, which just says the law needs to be substantially related to an important state interest.

Here’s an example: age laws for smoking or drinking. A law assigns different drinking ages based on race or religion? That’s discrimination under strict scrutiny, and the Supreme Court will throw it out. But a law that says men and women get different drinking ages? That’s intermediate scrutiny, and less likely to get thrown out. That’s not fair. That’s why we need the ERA.

Tools for small farmers

When the smartest people in the world spend most of their lives telling us climate change is real, then we should listen to them. Virginia will begin flooding in the next 30 years. In order to cut down on fossil fuel consumption, we need to get creative.

One of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels is trucks, and one of the biggest items transported is food. When grocery stores and restaurants buy local, less fuel is consumed. That’s why our Green New Deal should include support for small local farmers. Small farmers can have as little as an acre of land or less and only a few animals. When they have the resources to turn that into a second income, it helps them and it helps us.

One of my priorities as State Senator will be tools such as community commercial kitchens and pasteurization salons, like the Carver Food Enterprise Center in Orange. The up-front cost of a pasteurization salon is around $50K. Pasteurization and cheese-making facilities must both follow very specific legal requirements. Most cheeses must be made from pasteurized milk, though there are a limited number of cheeses that can be made from unpasteurized milk after being aged for 60 days at temperatures above 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Either way, building and maintaining on-site pasteurization and cheese processing facilities is expensive while milk prices continue to drop, which is why community commercial kitchens that provide up-to-code facilities are an important way to lower the barrier of entry into the market. Small farmers depend on multiple income streams to get by. Grants for local communities to invest in tools like these will help farmers with small numbers of cows or goats enter the dairy market without the added stress of maintaining inspection-ready facilities.