Today NAACP of Missouri, Empower Missouri, Missouri Faith Voices, PROMO, and other organizations joined to condemn recent assaults on civil rights and equality in Missouri and to call on the General Assembly to use floor debate to advance quality of life issues instead of a pro-discrimination agenda.
On Feb. 13, Nimrod Chapel Jr. appeared before the House Special Committee on Litigation Reform to testify against House Bills 552, 676 and 550. However, Committee Chairman Bill Lant cut off Chapel shortly after he began to speak, soon after Chapel called the bills “Jim Crow Legislation.” The next day Speaker of the House Todd Richardson apologized to Chapel, saying the House had not been at its best, and assured Chapel that he would have the opportunity to complete his testimony. No hearing has yet been scheduled to allow that testimony.
In the meantime, the Missouri Senate has taken up Senate Bill 43 for debate, another bill making it harder to prove discrimination. The Senate debated Senate Bill 43 for several hours on February 27 and is expected to take the bill back up as early as today. “The General Assembly has an interesting way to celebrate Black History Month,” said Chapel. “The best way to stop discrimination lawsuits is to simply stop discriminating, not by stacking the deck in favor of biased employers.”
A hearing was also held on Senate Bill 98 on Feb. 21, a bill regarding school bathrooms. Transgender witnesses and parents of transgender students condemned Senate Bill 98, saying it increased stigma and imperiled the safety of transgender students.
Recent damage to a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis further demonstrates that racism and religious oppression are still afoot in our state.
A joint statement was issued by the more than 20 organizations that joined at an 11 a.m. press conference in House Hearing Room 1. Find the text of that statement here.