JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. —  A Missouri Senate panel met today to consider the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act or MONA (SB 237), which would bar discrimination in the state based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodation.
The Senate Progress and Development Committee heard dueling testimony on the bill sponsored by Sen. Joseph Keaveny (D-St. Louis) — the legislation would add LGBT Missourians to the list of protected categories under the Missouri Human Rights Statute.
Among those testifying against the legislation was The Missouri Chamber of Commerce asserting it wants state employment laws changed before supporting such legislation.
“There are four changes that we would like to see...if we could get those, I don’t care what classes you addit could be little green men,” said Chamber lobbyist Jay Atkins in response to Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Clay County) asking if changing the language to "motivating" would move them on the issue. 
Several regional chambers in Missouri support MONA including the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce (who testified in favor today), the Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis.
“It was sad today to see the Missouri Chamber take discrimination laws so lightly," said Kyle Piccola, Senior Field Organizer for PROMO, Missouri's statewide LGBT advocacy organization, via press release. "It goes to show how out of touch they are with the values of Missouri. We are thankful for the four chambers who have come out in support of MONA.”
PROMO has introduced MONA in every session since 1998 - In 2013, the legislation passed through the Senate but failed to reach the House floor.
"The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act would help ensure that all people, including those who are gay or transgender, have a fair opportunity to earn a living, meet their obligations, provide for themselves and their families, and build a better life," Piccola told #Boom. "Changing the law won’t end all unfair treatment overnight. But it provides one more tool to ensure that ALL Missourians are treated fairly and equally."
To date, more than 700 businesses from across the state have pledged their support for a nondiscrimination law protecting gay and transgender people. These businesses included Fortune 500 companies to small, locally run mom-and-pop stores.
PROMO's annual lobby day is scheduled for Tues., April 22 in Jefferson City. 
Updated 2-21-2015



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