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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

VA Senator Wants to Remove Time Restraint on ERA

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Friday, February 10, 2023   

A growing group of U.S. Senators are supporting legislation to remove the time limit placed on ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.

When originally passed by Congress in 1972, there was a seven-year time limit to get the ERA ratified by 38 states. In 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment, but the next steps may be an uphill battle.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said the general feeling seems to be women's equality is not as much an issue now as it was in the 1970s, but he thinks the Supreme Court's decision to end federal abortion rights is reason enough to cement the ERA.

"There are an awful lot of people in this country that thought the protections under Roe v. Wade would be preserved," Warner pointed out. "You've got a Supreme Court that's willing to roll back judicial precedent. I don't know all the case law around protecting women's rights, but if you've got a Supreme Court that was willing to undo women's health care rights, you can see them undo other rights."

In the meantime, states have taken the matter into their own hands. More than 20 have ratified Equal Rights Amendments into their own constitutions. In New York, a state ERA will be on the 2024 ballot.

Aside from how long it took to get 38 states to ratify the ERA, Warner noted the current makeup of Congress could be a problem as well. He said he is hopeful but not convinced there is enough bipartisan support for it in both houses of Congress. He described what needs to happen to change it.

"In many ways, it would be great if community groups and others outside of the normal political group would just say, 'This is important.' You know, just kind of take this out of the 'liberal-conservative, left-right' battle," Warner explained. "We're talking about something that's as simple as guaranteeing women equal rights under law."

He added as the father of three daughters, he feels it is important for them to have the same rights as every other American.


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