During the state of the address on January 21, Governor Jay Nixon asked the Missouri Legislature to pass HB 615, a bill that would protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination. Currently, the state has anti-discriminatory laws in place for race, religion, nationality, sex, and disability.
“We need to end discrimination against LGBT Missourians in the workplace,” Nixon said during the address. “No Missourian should be fired because of who they are or who they love. Last year, the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act passed the Senate with bipartisan support but failed to get to my desk. Let’s get it done this year.”
According to a study from the Williams Institute, a non-discrimination law for LGBT Missourians could potentially protect approximately 160,000 people, at a cost of about $40,000—that’s less than three percent of the state’s Commission on Human Right’s annual budget.
“We share the governor’s vision of creating a better Missouri reflective of the needs of the next generation,” said the executive director of Missouri’s leading LGBT activist group Promo, A.J. Bockelman. “Increasingly, that generation knows and respects the challenges of the LGBT community and wishes to see the community reflected in the broad diversity that already makes up our great state.”
The full text of HB 615 can be read here.
The Democratic governor also called for $493 million to go toward education, of which he proposed that $278 million go to K-12 schools. Nixon believes that sufficient funding for public education is a key to the success of youth and community, and he aims to triple grants for preschool, suspend tuition for public universities, and increase scholarships for high school graduates.
“This is the test—and this is the year—to get serious about fully funding our schools. Our local schools will put these dollars to work in a big way for our kids and communities,” said Nixon.
He added, “Our growing economy, combined with our sound budget management, affords us this unique opportunity to invest in our students’ future—our state’s future.”