VIRGINIA SENATE ADOPTS MEASURES TO EXPAND OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL VIRGINIANS
Richmond, Va. – This afternoon, the Senate passed two Democratic bills intended to address inequality in Virginia. Senator Donald McEachin’s (D-Henrico) SB 785, a bill to prohibit discrimination in public employment, and Senator Adam Ebbin’s (D-Alexandria) SJ 216, a resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, both passed the Senate over the objections of most Senate Republicans. Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam broke a 19-19 tie to pass SB 785, and SJ 216 passed 21-17.
As he was presenting SB 785, Senator McEachin said, “This is a bill about fairness and equal opportunity. It prohibits discrimination in the public workforce based on sexual orientation. The past four Governors have taken bites at this apple – it is time we take action at the legislative level.”
Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) added, “Fairness, opportunity and equal treatment are values that cross party lines. They are Virginia values. It is time for us to take a step forward and make our state more equal.”
Upon the passage of SJ 216, Senator Ebbin said, “The Virginia Senate's vote to ratify the ERA is a needed step forward. We cannot ensure that women will be free from discrimination until they have universal rights under the Constitution.”
Senator Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said, “We were debating the ERA when I stepped foot in the House of Delegates and we’re still debating it today. I just don’t see what harm can come from voting for something that provides and guarantees and shows everybody in the world that we stand for equal rights. It's time for Virginia to get with it.”