ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council on Thursday voted to support two national initiatives: the Equal Rights Amendment and the Green New Deal.
More than a dozen people spoke during the meeting’s public comment period to urge council members to support the proposals. Some people even stood for one, and as a footnote to their comments said they supported the other. Each proposal only drew one public naysayer, the same person.
The Equal Rights Amendment, passed by Congress and sent to the states in 1972, demands equal rights for citizens regardless of sex, according to equalrightsamendment.org.
An issue far outside the scope of a city council, the resolution technically asks Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature to ratify the amendment, something 37 states have already done. An amendment requires 38 states to become part of the constitution.
The resolution also asks the city’s federal delegation to remove the deadline for ratification of the amendment. The amendment came with a 7-year window for passage, which expired in 1979 and was extended to 1982, according to equalrightsamendment.org
“It’s long past due,” said council member Gina Driscoll, who proposed both resolutions. The measure passed unanimously.
There was slightly more discussion among council members on the Green New Deal resolution, which requests the city’s federal delegation support the massive action plan on climate change in Congress.
Council member Darden Rice said though both resolutions relate to national issues, “the leadership this city takes is actually very important.”
Council member Ed Montanari, who is up for re-election this year, said he believes in climate change and listed a number of sustainability initiatives that he has supported. Then he explained why he would vote against the resolution.
“This resolution and the bill in Congress is just a bridge too far for me,” he said.
The Green New Deal resolution passed 7-1, with Montanari being the lone no vote.