Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Victory for ERA opponents today.

It was an exciting day today for many of us. Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum, the Constitutional lawyer who is given credit around the nation for defeating ERA back in the 70's and 80's, flew in from Illinois to testify against the bill. David Pryor, our former senator and governor, spoke for the bill and sat at the sponsor's (Rep Lindsley Smith) side for an hour and a half while they presented the ERA and answered questions from the committee members.

The committee vote was 10-10. Smith needed 11 votes to get the ERA bill out of committee and onto the House floor. The yeas were Reps. Cheatham, Wagner, Hall, Sumpter, Saunders, Wood, E. Brown, Edwards, Pate, and Harrelson. The nays were Reps. Reynolds, Lovell, Green, Hardwick, Pace, Harris, Evans, Jeffrey, Adcock, and Greenberg.

An amendment was also added to the bill allowing 20 sponsors of the bill to withdraw their names.

Arkansas Times blog lists the names of the sponsors who withdrew their names (I presume they are correct) as the following: Tommy Lee Baker of Osceola, Toni Bradford of Pine Bluff (a woman), Eddie Cooper of Melbourne, Larry Cowling of Foreman, Otis Davis of Earle, David Dunn of Forrest City, Curren Everett of Salem, Nathan George of Dardanelle, Clark Hall of Malvern, Eddie Hawkins of Vilonia, Johnny Hoyt of Morrilton, Ray Kidd of Jonesboro, Buddy Lovell of Marked Tree, Allen Maxwell of Monticello, Mike Patterson of Piggot, Lance Reynolds of Quitman, Bill Sample of Hot Springs, Scott Sullivan of DeQueen, David Wyatt of Batesville.

Arkansas Times calls them the 20 cowards. We would call them judicious – and humble for being willing to act on the facts presented to them, facts of which they weren't aware when they signed on to the bill.

More details will be coming later. You can watch the edited video of Rep. Lindsley Smith, David Pryor, and Phylis Schlafly's presentations before the committee. Believe me, Schlafly's presentation is worth watching.

I noted after watching the video of Schlafly that Arkansas Times blog edited that they slyly left out the main point of Schlafly's presentation. Schlafly used Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's book on how the ERA Amendment would affect state and federal laws, saying a Supreme Court Justice would surely be an authority on just what the ERA Amendment would do.

The main points of her presentation about the radical changes ERA would bring were taken out of Ginsburg's book. Schlafly held up the book by Ginsburg several times in her presentation. I noted in the edited video of Schlafly's presentation on the ARkansas Times blog that there was not one reference made to Ginsburg's book nor one clip where Schlafly was holding up the book. Arkansas Times blog - Sly, yes. Dishonest, yes. Afraid of the truth. You bet!

Here is the link:


Blogger Steve Harrelson said...

You did a good job. Even though we weren't on the same side on this vote, you are to be commended for your professionalism at the committee. I still have questions as to the many issues presented before us and truly think we were seeking the same outcome on most of the contentious points, but it doesn't matter -- I know when to acknowledge a loss.

The yeas were Reps. Cheatham, Wagner, Hall, Sumpter, Saunders, Wood, E. Brown, Edwards, Pate, and me.

The nos were Reps. Reynolds, Lovell, Green, Hardwick, Pace, Harris, Evans, Jeffrey, Adcock, and Greenberg.

5:07 PM, February 07, 2007  
Anonymous Mark Moore said...

That is very decent of you to drop by and say so.

If I may say, God blessed you today. He really did. It is like former Texas Senator Phil Graham said about a bill that sounded good but would have had terrible consequences, "if we pass this thing, ten years from now people will be hunting us with dogs".

If you are still in this business in ten years, and I think you will be, with the way you conduct yourself and everything, then today saved you from a mistake that would have cost you your career in 10 years. Don't even look at yourself as a loser on this. I almost wrote a column declaring you one of the biggest winners.

6:20 PM, February 07, 2007  
Anonymous GOPin08 said...

Joan Adcock voted against the ERA?? That's VERY surprising.

9:05 PM, February 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

National Right to Life issued the following release regarding the significance of the committee vote -- and the withdrawal of 20 cosponsors! -- on the national "three-state" ratification strategy.

Effort to revive federal E.R.A. suffers stunning setback,
as Arkansas House committee votes down ratification resolution

WASHINGTON (February 7, 2007) – Supporters of the so-called "three-state strategy" to revive the federal Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) – approved by Congress in 1972 – suffered a stunning setback today in the Arkansas legislature, as a House panel voted down a ratification resolution (HJR 1002) after 20 co-sponsors abandoned it.

HJR 1002 is part of the "three-state strategy," which is based on the hotly debated premise that the 1972 ERA can be ratified if three new states join the 35 that ratified during the 1970s – even though the ratification deadline passed in 1979, and even though five states had rescinded their ratifications before the deadline. (Ratification of a constitutional amendment requires 38 states.) A national organizer for the "three-state" campaign was quoted in the Kansas City Star (February 7) explaining, "This is very much under the radar."

Ratification resolutions have been introduced this year in a number of other states that never ratified the 1972 ERA, including Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi.

In Arkansas, "Many ERA supporters were not candid with the legislators, and that came back to bite them," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), which opposes the 1972 ERA language. "Some lawmakers changed their minds, once they learned how ERAs have been used to require tax funding of abortion in New Mexico and Connecticut. Some legislators also learned for the first time that the 1972 ERA contained a seven-year deadline and cannot be revived by any number of states. In fact, 26 of the 35 states that ratified during the 1970s explicitly mentioned the seven-year deadline in their ratification resolutions, and in 1982 the U.S. Supreme Court declared the ERA dead."

Just a week ago (Jan. 31), the national pro-ERA newsletter "The ERA Campaigner" reported, "The hopes of ERA supporters all over the country are now high that the Arkansas legislature will ratify the ERA within the next few weeks." On January 24, Gov. Mike Bebee, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel spoke to a pro-ERA rally at the state capitol. On the same day, supporters introduced HJR 1002 with 66 cosponsors – far more than the 50 votes needed to pass it. They anticipated no difficulty passing the measure in the House, and were hopeful about the Senate, which narrowly defeated a ratification resolution in 2005.

But today, after hearing from NRLC, Arkansas Right to Life, and other groups about both the irregularity of the process and the substantive legal implications of the proposed ERA, 20 cosponsors withdrew their support. The State Agencies & Governmental Affairs Committee then defeated HJR 1002 on a 10-10 vote, with two cosponsors voting against it.

For additional documentation on both the deadline issue and the ERA-abortion connection, please see the documents posted on the NRLC website here:

4:34 AM, February 08, 2007  

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