JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri House yesterday passed prejudicial legislation in the form of Senate Bill 43 that would make it significantly harder for victims of unlawful discrimination to prove their cases under the Missouri Human Rights Act and deprive Missourians of their right to be treated with dignity in the workplace based on their race, gender, age or religion.
Senate Bill 43 is sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington, who owns and is the registered agent of Show-Me Rent-to-Own, which is currently being sued for unlawful racial discrimination under the Missouri Human Rights Act.
The Plaintiff’s Petition filed against Show-Me-Rent-To-Own Inc., contains questionable and offensive examples regarding the actions of company officials including a map with a primarily black residential area circled and the words “do not rent to” written next to it and some racially discriminatory statements.
Black Caucus Chairman Alan Green, D-Florissant, expressed his disdain for the harmful measure and urged Gov. Eric Greitens to veto the discriminatory legislation.
“It is either a great ignorance or indifference to pretend Missouri does not have a problem with discrimination,” said Green. “We must stop this bill from becoming law. Gov. Greitens should recognize this transparent attempt to change the rules to benefit one powerful Senator who is being sued for the very kind of degrading discrimination that this bill affects.”
State Rep. Steve Roberts, D-St. Louis City, Black Caucus treasurer and a member of the litigation reform committee proposed multiple fixes to this harmful legislation but was denied the opportunity to present them.
“No provision in this bill is necessary or helps everyday Missourians,” Roberts said. “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.”
Black Caucus Vice Chair Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, rejects this blatant attempt to manipulate the levers of power.
“This is not the kind of world do we want for our children,” said Dogan. “I think we all want a world where we know that every person is treated fairly. The role of the justice system is to ensure that when there is unfairness we have a system in place to stand up for the rights of all. Your rights, my rights – the rights of all citizens.”
“Our laws are designed to protect citizens from hatred in their place of work,” said Black Caucus Secretary Bruce Franks Jr., D-St. Louis City. “Everyone should be able to do their job without being subject to the hatred and discrimination of others. Our Constitution acknowledges our individual freedom to believe what we want and grants us the freedom of speech. But in the workplace, it is unacceptable to inflict harm on others with the use of hate speech or discrimination.”