Florida lawmakers could vote to protect equal rights this fall — but it will take all of us speaking up to demand action on the ERA first.
The people of Florida have the opportunity to have their voices heard and play a part in the making of herstory by becoming the 38th and final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
The Florida Senate and House are in regular session from March 5 to May 9 – let’s get ERA voted on in THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION!
Call your representative now!
As of March 11, 2019, three bills- two in the Florida House and one in the Florida Senate, have been introduced ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment. Rep. Dotie Joseph (D-North Miami) filed House Concurrent Resolution 209 ratifying the ERA on January 9, 2019. HCR 209 has also been sponsored by Deputy Democratic Leader Rep. Margaret Good (D-Sarasota) and has been co-sponsored by nine other Democratic state representatives. Rep. Patricia Williams (D-Lauderdale Lakes) has sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 255, which also ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment. Both HCR 209 and HCR 255 are currently in the Civil Justice Subcommittee of the Florida House Judiciary Committee.
In the Florida Senate, Senator Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 266 on January 9, 2019. On January 22, SCR 266 was referred to the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee, the Florida Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism, and the Florida Senate Rules Committee. SCR 266 has been cosponsored by six Democratic state Senators.
To date, none of the bills have been called for a vote.
The following Florida State Representatives are sponsors of HCR 209:
Rep. Dotie Joseph (D-North Miami)
Rep. Margaret Good (D-Sarasota) (Deputy Democratic Leader)
Rep. Anna V. Eskamani (D-Orlando)
Rep. Javier E. Fernández (D-South Miami)
Rep. Mike Grieco (D-Miami Beach)
Rep. Adam Hattersley (D-Riversview)
Rep. Al Jacquet (D-Lantana)
Rep. Evan Jenne (D-Dania Beach)
Rep. Amy Mercado (D-Orlando)
Rep. Clovis Watson, Jr. (D-Alachua)
Rep. Jennifer Webb (D-Gulfport)
The following Florida State Representatives are sponsors of HCR 255:
Rep. Patricia Williams (D-Lauderdale Lakes)
The following Florida State Senators are sponsors or cosponsors of SCR 266:
Senator Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) (Vice Chair of the Rules Committee)
Senator Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach)
Senator Janet Cruz (D-Tampa)
Senator Kevin Rader (D-Boca Raton)
Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami) (Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee)
Senator Victor M. Torres, Jr. (D-Kissimmee)
The people of Florida have the opportunity to have their voices heard and play a part in the making of herstory to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). As of today, Florida may be one of the best opportunities for supporters and advocates of the ERA to be the last state needed to ratify the Amendment, whether it be through connecting with their state legislators, participating in demonstrations, or raising awareness through social media.
As of January 29, 2019, three ratification bills have been introduced in the current session of the Florida legislature: two in the Florida House of Representatives (HCR 109 and HCR 255) and one bill in the Florida Senate (SCR 266).
SCR 266 was introduced by Senator Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) and co-sponsored by Senator Lori Berman (D-Lantana) on January 9, 2019.
On January 22, 2019, SCR 266 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Committee on Commerce and Tourism, and the Rules Committee.
HCR 209 ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced on January 9, 2019 by Representative Doti Joseph (D-North Miami). On January 16, 2019 it was referred to the Florida House of Representatives’ Civil Justice Subcommittee, the Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee and the Judiciary Committee.
HCR 255 ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced on January 11. 2019 by Representative Patricia Williams (D-Lauderdale Lakes). On January 23, 2019, it was referred to the House Civil Justice Subcommittee, the Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, and the Judiciary Committee.
Please call your State Senators and Representatives and encourage them to co-sponsor HCR 209, HCR 255, and SCR 266 ratifying the ERA.
One of the most prominent supporters of the ERA in Florida was Roxcy O’Neal Bolton who founded the Miami chapter of National Organization for Women in 1966. She became the vice president of the NOW national organization in 1969, while her husband, Commander David Bolton in the U.S. Navy, would later lead the organization Men for ERA. During the 1970s, when the lion’s share of state legislatures ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, Florida remained one of the battlegrounds well into the end of the decade and the beginning of the 1980s. On various occasions, the ERA passed the Florida House of Representatives, but never passed the Senate. When the ERA was first put to vote in the Florida Senate in 1974, the only female state Senator in the chamber was Senator Lori Wilson, who became an outspoken proponent of the Amendment.
A Washington Post article from 1977 explained that many members of the State Senate during that era were conservative Democrats, and that the Sunshine State’s upper chamber was essentially controlled by three leaders, all male, and all opposed to the ERA. Senate President Lew Brantley, former Senate President and Dean of the Senate Dempsey Barron, and Rules Committee Chairman Tom Gallen were cited by the article as having utilized “arm-twisting” and “backroom deals” to prevent its passage despite the pro-ERA stance of then-Governor Reubin Askew. Senator Gallen even stated that the only reason the bill ever made it out of the Rules Committee was because, according to him, there were enough votes to defeat the Amendment in the Senate. Gallen was quoted as saying “we could kill it better on the floor”.
Anita Bryant, a singer who became the official spokesperson of the Florida Citrus Commission, helped lead the opposition to the ERA through her organization Save Our Children. Shirley Spellerberg, a radio host in Miami, also opposed the ERA and along with Bryant became the leaders of an anti-ERA movement in Florida. While support for the ERA was more likely to be found in Florida’s urban areas, the opposition to the Amendment gained traction in predominantly rural and conservative regions along with areas with a more significant elderly population. On June 21, 1982, the Florida House of Representatives approved the ERA with 60 Representatives voting in favor and 58 Representatives voting against. However, that same day, the Florida Senate voted 22-16 against ratifying the ERA.
Since 2000, legislators in both branches of the Florida legislature have introduced bills ratifying the ERA, and in most cases the bills either died in the committee process or were withdrawn prior to introduction. Most recently, Florida State Representative Daisy Baez introduced HCR 163 ratifying the ERA in the Florida House of Representatives on August 24, 2017, however, the bill was withdrawn on November 2, 2017 following Representative Baez’s resignation from the Florida House. In the Florida Senate, Senator Audrey Gibson filed SCR 264 on September 7, 2017, and the bill was referred to three committees: Judiciary, Commerce and Tourism, and Rules.
List of Sponsors/Co-Sponsors for SCR 264:
Senator Audrey Gibson, Sponsor
Senator Linda Stewart, Co-Sponsor Senator Lauren Book, Co-Sponsor
Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, Co-Sponsor
If your State Senator or Representative is not on this list, please call them and encourage them to co- sponsor SCR 264, the ratification of the ERA.
Be sure to stay informed on news and events regarding the progress of the ERA through the Equal Means Equal website at www.equalmeansequal.org.
72% of Americans won’t join the fight for equal rights because they think the Constitution already guarantees them. We need your help to actually achieve that goal by adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, starting with ratifying the ERA in Florida. Join our movement.
Equal Means Equal will keep you informed of the status of ratification in Florida and what actions you can take locally to pass the ERA.
Let’s do this.
Want to do more? Let us know how else you can help.
Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and House Speaker Richard Corcoran will decide whether to bring the ERA to a vote. Let’s make the choice clear. Call them now — you can use this sample script or tell your own story.
Speaker of the House, 37th District, Pasco County
420 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Senate President, District 25, Martin, St. Lucie, and part of Palm Beach Counties
305 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
House Judiciary Chair, District 65, Pinellas County
412 House Office Building
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Join the dozens of women’s organizations and thousands of women using the EQUAL MEANS EQUAL documentary film to reinvigorate the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment!
Host a screening in your neighborhood and help get the conversation going about the importance of the ERA. Click the button below to organize a screening in your community.
Democracy is a team sport. Let your ladies know our time is now.
ERA Ratification in the United States: Only ONE more state is needed to ratify the ERA
37 wins! Thanks to these states for protecting the rights of Americans and fighting to usher in a new ERA.