There are actually TWO different ERA bills in the Congress. One is the original Equal Rights Amendment and the other is called the Women’s Equality Act. The first one is the old ERA and is referred to as the Three State Strategy. The second bill is actually what we call the “do over” bill which means we start from scratch. This bill exists because some say the first is no longer viable, and we have to start over since we originally had a time limit on ratification. The time limit was seven years, and it was extended for another three years. No other amendment had ever had a time limit placed on it before.
In the 1990’s, the Congress allowed the ratification of the twenty-seventh Amendment known as the Madison Amendment. This amendment was begun 209 years before it was ratified, and it counted the original nine states among the ratifiers. This amendment’s passage allows the original ERA to be viable and we say we need THREE STATES to ratify and give us our rights. We want Virginia to be one of those three.
The process is not ended with those three states since it has to return to the Congress. The Congress must have a bill in each House which would allow them to accept and finalize the ERA’s passage. Every year a bill is filed in each chamber to accept it when the states ratify.