Why I Switched Sides on ERA

This ERA button says, "Ratify ERA in 1975."

This ERA button says, “Ratify ERA in 1975.”

It’s as if the Senate Democrats are in a time warp.

They keep bring back the Equal Rights Amendment.

When it failing in the 1970’s, I voted for it.

Since then I have changed my mind.

The following email that I sent to my State Senator Pam Althoff explains why:

I’d like to run my thought processes on ERA past you, just in case the Dems decide to call for a vote.

In the 1970’s I compared the state equal rights section in our constitution to the amendment language.

I couldn’t see much difference.

"STOP ERA" the most common button red.

“STOP ERA” the most common button red.

And our constitutional language had been in effect since 1970 with no untoward effects I could see.

I also mailed a survey to every household and a good majority favored it.

So, I voted for ratification.

Later I figured out that the enforcement section was as important as the language itself.

And given the nutso decisions coming out of the Federal judiciary I changed my mind.

Now we have had over 43 years of seeing how the state equal rights section has been implemented by our state courts.

If there is gender discrimination in Illinois, that would seem to be adequate time for it to have been litigated.

Given the similarity of the state and proposed Federal constitutional language, I continue to think where the enforcement occurs is the key issue.

You know I don’t trust any government.

And the farther away from popular control the less I trust it.

There is nothing father away from voter control that the Federal courts.

I hope you will agree with my logic and vote against the Federal proposal.


Why I Switched Sides on ERA — 2 Comments

  1. House Democrats Lou Lang (Skokie), Kelly M. Cassidy (Chicago), & Naomi D. Jakobsson (Champaign) are proposing a Constitutional Amendment for women’s equal rights, HJRCA 0007 in the 98th General Assembly.

    No proposal to repeal the pension benefit hike protection clause in the Illinois State Constitution though.

    The one sentence pension windfall clause:

    “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

    That sentence means the benefits of pensions in the Illinois Pension Code can be increased an unlimited amount through state legislation, but after being increased, cannot be decreased.

    Thus taxpayers are a never ending source of increased pension benefits via state legislation for public sector workers.

    And that’s the main reason we have a major public sector pension problem in Illinois.

    How about a Taxpayer Pension Protection Constitutional Amendment, protecting taxpayers from legislative pension benefit hikes?

    Madigan tried something like that with HJRCA 49 in 2012 but it was defeated.

    Here’s the State’s analysis of HJRCA 49 which the State mailed to many voters that confused people more than it helped them understand the issue.


  2. Mark’s comments are consistently facts-based and logical.

    My personal opinion, which may be more emotionally driven, is that such a solution as HJRCA 49 would end up being as effectively useful as PTELL; that is, clever Illinois vested interests would find ways around it, through it, and caudalocephalic to it.

    My preference would be for Constitutional Taxpayer Protection which unambiguously limits the pool of money to which the State or its operatives have legal access.

    That would be something like California Prop 13, or a personal income tax rate cap.

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