ERA All But Dead for This Year; Senate Approves Driver's License Suspension Bill

Jan 25, 2019

A proposal to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia is all but dead.

A Republican-controlled committee in the House of Delegates voted down the gender-equality measure Friday.

Proponents had hoped the measure still had chance of passage after a subcommittee defeated the measure Tuesday. Friday's vote means the measure has almost no chance of passage this year.

ERA proponents had hoped Virginia will become the 38th state to approve the amendment. It would then have met the threshold for ratification in the U.S. Constitution. But even if it's ratified, court battles would likely ensue over a long-passed 1982 deadline set by Congress.

Also Friday, the Virginia Senate approved legislation to end the suspension of driver's licenses of people with unpaid court fines and costs.

The measured passed Friday with broad bipartisan support but may stall in the GOP-controlled House.

Virginia collects about $10 million a year from people paying to reinstate their licenses after they have been suspended for unpaid court courts and fees.

Advocates who have pushed for a change in the law say it unfairly punishes poor people. Opponents of the legislation said it would reward criminals.

The Legal Aid Justice Center of Virginia has sued over the practice. The group argues that the law violates due process and is unconstitutional.