Missouri Democrats Vow to Oppose Discrimination Bill

6 years 5 months 2 weeks ago Monday, January 30 2012 Jan 30, 2012 Monday, January 30, 2012 5:29:00 PM CST January 30, 2012 in News
By: The Associated Press
loading

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Black lawmakers in Missouri, fearful of reversing decades of hard-fought civil rights gains, said Monday they will try to prevent votes in the House and Senate on a measure that would change the state's workplace discrimination laws.

A measure pending in the Senate would require workers who bring wrongful termination lawsuits to prove discrimination was a "motivating factor" -- not simply a contributing factor -- in the employer's action. The legislation also would apply to other wrongful discrimination actions, such as the denial of promotions.

In cases where employers were found to have wrongfully discriminated, punitive damages would be tied to the number of employees the company has, with a maximum of $300,000. Political subdivisions, such as city governments, would not be liable for any punitive damages.

House member Steve Webb, the head of the state's Legislative Black Caucus, said at a press conference that the measure would roll back decades of civil rights progress aimed at protecting minorities and people with disabilities from being treated unfairly at their jobs.

"Anything that brings us back a step toward discrimination is something we're not going to stand for," said Webb, D-Florissant. "Civil rights acts were put in place to protect people."

Democrats prevented the Senate bill from coming to a vote in that chamber after about five hours of debate last week. The stalling efforts were primarily the work of Sens. Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Robin Wright-Jones, of the St. Louis area, and Sen. Kiki Curls, of Kansas City. They said the bill's changes would give employers less incentive to prevent discrimination in the workplace.

Curls said Monday that Senate Democrats intend to block the bill "as long as it takes," even though there are only eight Democrats in the Senate and 26 Republicans.

"We realize what our numbers are over in the Senate, but some things come down to principal," she said.
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a similar bill last year, which Republicans managed to pass despite similar Democratic opposition.

Rep. Tishaura Jones, D-St. Louis, said Monday that the governor's office had indicated that he will again veto the legislation. She also praised the senators who had blocked last week's vote.

The governor's office has so far declined to comment on the Senate bill. A call to his staff following Monday's press conference had not been returned at press time.

Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in the Senate, but not the House. There are no Republicans in the Legislative Black Caucus.

The pending bill is similar to last year's, but makes changes to sections that deal with summary judgment decisions in court. Summary judgment allows cases to be decided before they go to a trial, if all of the parties can agree on the facts of the case.
Republicans have said the Senate bill would merely bring Missouri in line with federal job discrimination standards and could make the state more appealing to businesses. Sponsoring Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, said in Senate debate last week that the "motivating factor" standard is too broad and that businesses lack certain about whether they can be sued for damages.

Rep. Tishaura Jones, D-St. Louis, rejected that argument at Monday's press conference, saying that changing the discrimination law would not help the state economically.

"Missouri does have a higher standard and we applaud Missouri for having a higher standard," Jones said. "We don't know of any cases where a business has decided not to locate in Missouri or has left Missouri because of our higher standard."
Webb said the existing law is clear and fair to both business owners and workers.

"Employees who treat their workers with fairness and respect have nothing to fear," Webb said. "We do not feel that expecting businesses to treat people with dignity is asking too much. Let's not wait until (the bill) gets to the governor's desk. Let's fix it now. "

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Democratic Party filed an appeal to the ruling from a Cole County judge dismissing a... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 1:59:00 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
FULTON - In the span of one month, law enforcement responded to nine car crashes on Route F between Boone... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 1:40:00 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The man who caused the crash which left a Harrisburg teacher dead pleaded guilty Wednesday. Brandon Brill,... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 12:34:00 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA (AP) — Wet and muddy from their trek across the Mexican border, immigrant children say they sat... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 10:50:00 AM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The 12 members of a youth soccer team and their coach who spent more than two weeks trapped... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 8:24:00 AM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri program aimed at connecting stroke, heart attack and trauma patients with the best care... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 8:17:00 AM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The owner of the Mandalay Bay hotel says it bears no liability in last year's Las Vegas concert... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 6:32:00 AM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A 61-year-old southwest Missouri woman has been sentenced to life in prison for an ambush-style shooting of... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 6:08:59 AM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - An arrest for suspicion of filing a false report has been made in connection to a reported robbery... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 11:44:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - After four days of searching, Jerry Kinman has been found dead near Little Dixie Lake. Kinman,... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 10:19:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
STURGEON - The carnival rides at the Boone County Fair closed unexpectedly just hours after the fair opened because they... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 9:00:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A democratic candidate for Missouri's fourth congressional district criticized the Republican incumbent Tuesday for her lack of action... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 6:46:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce harshly criticized the city council at Monday night's meeting regarding projects being put... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 6:41:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Hy-Vee recalled its Spring Pasta Salad from 244 stores on Tuesday. Company officials said 20 illnesses by... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 5:54:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
MEXICO - Josh Hawley faced questions about President Donald Trump's summit with Russia as well as tariffs facing Missouri farmers... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 5:31:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Construction crews began adding a turn lane for an upcoming Columbia middle school on South Sinclair Road on... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 2:58:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY – Expecting mothers in Boone County will soon have more services at their disposal. The county received... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 2:16:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Grain Belt Express Clean Line, a proposed energy transmission project through northern Missouri, got new life... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 1:59:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 84°
4pm 85°
5pm 86°
6pm 85°
7pm 84°