STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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: 156868

Reported Deaths: 3851
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10409104
Hinds10279202
Harrison7313112
Jackson6566128
Rankin5887106
Lee529496
Madison5014107
Forrest389786
Jones369088
Lauderdale3594147
Lafayette338253
Washington3246108
Lamar297850
Oktibbeha252362
Lowndes247064
Bolivar244384
Panola232653
Neshoba2249121
Marshall222851
Leflore208591
Monroe206778
Pontotoc204231
Lincoln197366
Sunflower192655
Warren180258
Tate177751
Union171926
Copiah167940
Pike165359
Yazoo160140
Scott159430
Itawamba157635
Alcorn155628
Pearl River155368
Coahoma152743
Simpson152653
Prentiss151331
Adams144752
Grenada143345
Leake139744
Holmes133461
Covington128639
Tippah128430
George128325
Winston125526
Hancock124341
Wayne121323
Marion119446
Attala119334
Tishomingo112443
Chickasaw109432
Newton108229
Tallahatchie98127
Clay94727
Clarke93653
Jasper85223
Stone80615
Calhoun78713
Walthall77629
Montgomery76926
Carroll74115
Lawrence73814
Smith73216
Yalobusha73128
Noxubee72717
Perry68326
Tunica62619
Greene61522
Jefferson Davis59017
Claiborne58916
Amite56615
Humphreys54719
Benton50018
Quitman5007
Webster46714
Kemper45018
Wilkinson40522
Jefferson37112
Choctaw3617
Franklin3555
Sharkey32417
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 252900

Reported Deaths: 3638
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33526501
Mobile20103365
Madison13723151
Tuscaloosa13366154
Montgomery12552236
Shelby1079677
Baldwin9051137
Lee787266
Morgan696451
Calhoun6598121
Etowah656167
Marshall647357
Houston541038
DeKalb498137
Cullman462443
St. Clair441956
Limestone440445
Lauderdale426754
Elmore421164
Walker3735111
Talladega370157
Jackson340423
Colbert332042
Blount306140
Autauga281842
Franklin257434
Coffee250015
Dale239054
Dallas231532
Chilton228939
Russell22663
Covington225034
Escambia202331
Tallapoosa187291
Chambers182750
Pike161514
Clarke161019
Marion144736
Winston137523
Lawrence133436
Pickens126518
Geneva12508
Marengo123424
Bibb120418
Barbour118911
Butler118642
Randolph105522
Cherokee105124
Hale98131
Fayette94616
Washington93219
Clay92824
Henry8896
Monroe83011
Lowndes80929
Cleburne78814
Macon75522
Crenshaw72230
Bullock70119
Lamar7018
Conecuh70014
Perry6916
Wilcox64818
Sumter58622
Greene43518
Choctaw43114
Coosa3664
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 31°
Columbus
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 32°
Oxford
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 38°
Starkville
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 34°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather