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Bill would require review of MN’s compliance with ERA

In January, a U.S. House of Representatives’ resolution stated the Equal Rights Amendment has satisfied all constitutional requirements — including ratification by 75% of the states — and, therefore, “has met the requirements of the Constitution and become valid to all intents and purposes as a part of the Constitution, and shall be known as the ‘Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.’”

Rep. Rena Moran (DFL-St. Paul) said she is “duty-bound” to ensure state laws conform.

Her first step in doing so is HF2847, which would direct the Office of the Revisor of Statutes to lead a review of state statutes and rules to determine compliance with the federal Equal Rights Amendment. The study would focus on sex-specific language and sex-specific treatments or requirements. Potential changes would be housed in a bill for the 2023 legislative session.

“Understanding where those distinctions (based on sex) currently exist, or if they exist, in our statute and code is necessary for serving the people of Minnesota,” Moran said.

“We certainly should make sure that our state laws are written to treat men and women equal,” added Rep. Anne Neu Brindley (R-North Branch).

The bill was held over Thursday by the House State Government Finance and Elections Committee while awaiting a fiscal note. Moran suspects there will be no cost, but Neu Brindley fears they could be “significant.”

Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park), the committee chair, said statutes are regularly reviewed to ensure no problems exist.

Betty Folliard, a former representative and founder of ERA Minnesota, said the state could be subject to lawsuits if it is not in 28th Amendment compliance.

Sen. Sandra Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) sponsors the companion. SF2731 awaits action by the Senate Civil Law and Data Practices Policy Committee.

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