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In a show of bipartisanship, a second version of the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA) has been pre-filed in the Missouri House by Rep. Tom Hannegan (R-65-St. Charles). The new legislative session begins on January 9, 2019.

 

MONA would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s Human Rights Act, which currently prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations for other protected categories, including race, sex and national origin.

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According to the Williams Institute, more than 160,000 LGBTQ adults in Missouri would benefit from an expanded state nondiscrimination law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

 

Rep. Hannegan’s bill (HB 350) is the second version of MONA to be filed this month, along with Rep. Greg Razer's (D-25-Kansas City) bill (HB 208). Both legislators are members of the Missouri LGBT caucus, which now includes freshman Ian Mackey (D-87-St. Louis).

 

“Protecting people from discrimination is an issue that people on both sides of the aisle care about," said Hannegan. "Everyone needs to be able to earn a living, including those who are gay or transgender. Employees should be judged on their qualifications, experience, and the job they do -- nothing more and nothing less.”

 

"Representative Hannegan and I both serve our state because we care about the people of Missouri. That includes LGBT Missourians, who are just that -- Missourians," added Razer. "There are many issues that divide Democrats and Republicans. However, one that should unite us is the belief that all Missourians have the right to live and work without the fear of legal discrimination hanging over our heads."

 

Last year, MONA passed out of the General Laws Committee, marking only the second time the legislation has passed out of a House Committee in Missouri history. Proponents viewed it as a huge step forward for the bill, which hasn’t passed out of a full chamber vote since 2013.

 

2019 marks the 21st consecutive year that the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act has been introduced in the Missouri General Assembly. The pro equality legislation was first introduced by former Rep. Steve McLuckie (D-44-Kansas City) in 1998.

 

There are over 1,200 businesses - including multiple Fortune 500 companies - in Missouri that continue to strongly urge the Missouri Legislature to pass MONA.

 

“In 2018, we saw numerous protections for our community rolled back at the federal level, but Missouri has an opportunity for a different outcome," said Steph Perkins, Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri's statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization. "This year, PROMO will again be in the Capitol every single day working on both sides of the aisle to ensure our state moves forward in including and protecting LGBTQ equality for all Missourians. That includes being protected in our workplaces, in our homes, in public, and in healthcare.”

 

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