BILL TO WEAKEN HUMAN RIGHTS ACT ADVANCES IN HOUSE
Legislation to severely undermine Missouri’s anti-discrimination law that is sponsored by a Republican state senator who currently is being sued for alleged violations of that very law has cleared two House committees and is one vote away from being sent to Gov. Eric Greitens to be signed into law.
Senate Bill 43 would make it significantly harder for victims of illegal workplace discrimination to successfully sue their employer under the Missouri Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, disability or familial status.
Its sponsor, state Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington owns Show-Me Rent-to-Own, a nine-store chain in Southeast Missouri. In 2015, a former account manager at the company’s Sikeston location sued, alleging a white supervisor repeatedly targeted her with racial slurs and also prohibited renting to residents of Sikeston’s black neighborhood. The account manager, who is black, says she was fired for pre-textual reasons after complaining. The case remains pending in Scott County Circuit Court.
In a news conference on April 10, members of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus said the bill would weaken important civil rights protections and criticized Romine for using his elected position for personal benefit. The Senate approved SB 43 in March, and if the House makes no changes, it will go straight to Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, to be signed into law.
There is no provision SB 43 bill that helps everyday Missourians. What is now clear to me is that we are worlds away from serving the citizens of this great state when the bills being brought forth are more concerned about protecting the rights of the oppressors over the rights of the oppressed.