The Equal Rights Amendment is the first measure to earn the backing of the Senate Women’s Caucus, members of the bipartisan group announced today during a press conference in Springfield.
“The intention of the Illinois Senate Women’s Caucus is to advance legislation that supports, empowers and protects women of all aspects of life, and that’s exactly what we are doing today,” said State Senator Karen McConnaughay, a St. Charles Republican and co-chairwoman of the caucus.
SJRCA 4, the Equal Rights Amendment, proposes to ratify the ERA to the U.S. Constitution and solidify equality for women. Women do not currently have guaranteed equal rights under the federal Constitution.
“Today, we are here together, Republican and Democratic women, to demonstrate our support of the Equal Rights Amendment, which ensures equality for all women,” McConnaughay said. “This isn’t a partisan issue. It’s an issue that affects every single woman in this country. By coming together, we have a chance to make an impact at a national level for women all across the nation.”
The 17 female senators currently serving in the Illinois Senate comprise the bipartisan caucus. For any legislation to gain the support of the caucus, 50 percent of Republican members and 50 percent of Democratic members must support the proposal. The caucus formed a legislative committee to review and vet policy proposals.
“The Senate Women’s Caucus came together to empower and amplify the voices of women throughout our state,” Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, a Maywood Democrat and co-chairwoman of the caucus, said. “It is fitting that the first piece of legislation endorsed by the caucus is the Equal Rights Amendment, which protects women’s constitutional rights and is one of the many women’s issues that is long overdue.”
State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) is the chief Senate sponsor of the ERA.
“I am proud to sponsor the ERA and for it to gain bipartisan support from female senators,” she said. “Passing the ERA will strengthen the fight for so many women’s issues. It all starts with equality of rights, regardless of sex, being cemented into the Constitution.”