Gov. Jay Nixon today released the following initial statement on Senate Bill 188 relating to the Missouri Human Rights Act and employment discrimination:
"Missouri is a state that welcomes all people, and believes that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity," Gov. Nixon said. "That means eliminating discrimination and removing the barriers of prejudice wherever they exist. Whether it be in the workplace, in housing or in public accommodations, discrimination is wrong. It will not be tolerated here in Missouri."
Governor Nixon said that Senate Bill 188 would undermine key provisions of the Missouri Human Rights Act, rolling back decades of progress in protecting civil rights, encouraging fair treatment and fostering mutual understanding and respect among all citizens.
"This bill would make it harder to prove discrimination in the workplace, and would throw new hurdles in the path of those whose rights have been violated," Gov. Nixon said. "That is unacceptable."
The bill is opposed by a broad coalition of advocacy groups representing women, individuals with disabilities and serious illnesses, senior citizens and minorities.
Those groups include: American Cancer Society; AARP; Paraquad; The Whole Person; Missouri Association for the Deaf; Missouri Association for Social Welfare; National Education Association; Missouri Centers for Independent Living; Missouri Statewide Independent Living Council; Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council; NAACP and many others.
"Making it easier for Missouri companies to discriminate against people with disabilities or cancer, and against women, older workers and minorities will not help us create jobs or be more competitive," Gov. Nixon said. "To thrive in a global economy and uphold the values we share, we must be a state that continues to move forward - not backward - when it comes to civil rights and equal opportunity."
Gov. Nixon will outline his specific objections and take formal action on Senate Bill 188 at a public setting on Friday, April 29, 2011.