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Lawmakers push to put women on quarters

Throughout history, the vast majority of the faces embossed on US coins have belonged to men. But a new bipartisan bi...

Posted: Mar 16, 2018 9:46 AM
Updated: Mar 16, 2018 9:46 AM

Throughout history, the vast majority of the faces embossed on US coins have belonged to men. But a new bipartisan bill aims to give more women a metal memorial.

Two US representatives -- Democrat Barbara Lee of California and Republican Bruce Poliquin of Maine -- on Thursday introduced a bill that would inject the coin circulation with quarters that feature prominent women from American history.

In a program that would mimic the ongoing commemorative collection that features state landmarks, the US Mint would churn out coins featuring women selected by leaders from all 50 states, five territories and DC. Their portraits would appear on the back side of the coins, opposite George Washington.

"We have so many women, first of all, who are unsung heroes, and their accomplishments haven't been recognized," Lee told CNNMoney. "This bill, and hopefully the coins, will give us a chance to really highlight them and make sure the world really knows who they are and what they have done. I think it's really long overdue."

The legislation, introduced during Women's History Month, would direct the governor or top official in each state or territory to consult with local women's organizations and other interested groups about their pick. No living people can appear on coins, so the women must be deceased, the bill stipulates.

Related: Mnuchin still won't commit to putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill

The first design mockups could arrive in 2020, the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. And Lee said the first coins could enter circulation in 2021.

Lee worked for more than a year alongside former Treasurer Rosie Rios to draft this bill.

Rios has fought tooth-and-nail to get more female faces on US currency since she arrived in Washington DC to serve as President Obama's Treasurer almost a decade ago.

Her push to include a woman on the front of the $10 bill, the denomination that's currently due for a makeover, made headlines in 2015 and 2016.

The Treasury Secretary, however, has final say when it comes to redesigning paper currency. And former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew ultimately decided to keep Alexander Hamilton as the face of the $10. But he promised Harriet Tubman could one day replace Andrew Jackson on the $20, and he pledged to put a collage of female leaders on the back of the $10.

President Trump's Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has not said whether he intends to alter or follow Lew's plan. Mnuchin's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Even as Rios was pushing for a woman on the $10 bill, she was also quietly working with Lee on the coin legislation.

While Treasury can single-handedly redesign paper money, changes to coins must go through Congress.

Rosie Rios on the push for gender equality

"I had a whole plan," Rios told CNNMoney. "It wasn't just a woman for the sake of a woman. I knew our timeline [for issuing updated coins and currency] was 2020, the suffrage centennial. This is about giving half your population the chance to participate."

Poliquin, the Republican from Maine, said he jumped at the chance to co-sponsor Lee's bill when she approached him about it a couple weeks ago. Both are optimistic the measure will pass.

"I think we're going to have plenty of support," he said. "It's about women in our society and our country and economy."

When asked who they'd like to see represented on their home states' quarters, Lee said she doesn't have a specific woman in mind. Pliquin mentioned Margaret Chase Smith, a Maine lawmaker who became the first woman to serve in both houses of the United States Congress. And Rios mentioned famed poet Maya Angelou, who lived in San Francisco, for her home state of California.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 266598

Reported Deaths: 5852
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
Bolivar4164110
Oktibbeha411585
Panola389881
Pontotoc380460
Monroe3727111
Warren3716103
Marshall360172
Union360165
Pearl River3527106
Neshoba3516158
Leflore3132110
Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
Simpson244872
Leake238967
Marion228274
Covington224873
Grenada224673
Wayne216336
Adams216271
Winston208271
George206440
Newton201447
Attala197465
Tishomingo196361
Chickasaw190245
Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
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