Legislative Update: Lawmakers are Trying to Legalize Discrimination

Jul 8, 2024

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Legal Discrimination on College & University Campuses

For almost 30 years, you have fought alongside us to pass the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act (MONA). It is a law that would give LGBTQ+ Missourians — our community, our families, our elders, and our future generations — the absolute basic rights to freedom. It would guarantee our right to not be fired from a job, denied a place to live, denied the right to eat at a restaurant, the right to purchase a wedding cake, or the right to swim at a public pool of our choosing all because of who we are as beautiful individuals. Instead of fighting to deliver us these rights, our lawmakers are spending their time taking away rights that we already have by trying to LEGALIZE DISCRIMINATION that is already illegal.

House Bill 1518, a bill that allows students to discriminate against otherson college campuses, passed out of the House and now awaits to be assigned a public hearing in the Senate. Missouri leadership is hellbent on passing this bill, and we simply cannot afford to lose more of our rights.

As a reminder, in the past year alone, trans Missourians were stripped of their rights to access life-saving, medically necessary health care and their ability to play sports in schools. People who can become pregnant lost their ability to make life-saving health care decisions for themselves. All Missourians are impacted by the new voter ID laws aimed at stripping voters of their ability to use any identifying document to cast their vote.

We understand HB 1518 may not resonate with you, but there is nothing more guaranteed in this country than our right to speak and express ourselves freely. We must maintain our rights to access public life.

TL;DR — Here are the THREE steps to take action this week:

  1. Contact your senator and urge them to vote NO on HB 1518 when it comes to a vote. Share with them why it is dangerous for students and all Missourians. 
  2. Share your story about times when student clubs and campus activities were beneficial in your life, how they helped you develop leadership skills, and contributed to your overall betterment and growth.
  3. Make sure you’re registered to vote and understand how powerful your vote actually is within all levels of government — local, state, and federal.

Drag performers from across the state joined us earlier this week to oppose House Bill 1650. The bill is a drag ban that would classify businesses who allow drag performances as a “sexually-explicit business” and also charge anyone who participates in a public drag performance at a child-friendly venue with a felony.

Last week, Rep. Mazzie Christensen (the bill sponsor) went on a podcast with an alt-right extremist group and said the quiet thing out loud. She made it clear her drag bill was about banning all gender non-conforming people from everyday life — effectively erasing Missourians. She did this by citing her desire that a nonbinary librarian be removed from their employment at a public library for living as their authentic selves. This witch hunt has gone too far and there is no end in sight.

Rep. Christensen is yet another tactic in the nationwide effort to push christian white nationalism under the false auspices of religious liberty. We’ll continue to monitor this bill and update you with actions you can take as we learn more.

SJR 74, the resolution aimed at shredding our constitution and getting rid of the “one person, one vote” majority rule in place now for the initiative petition process, is scheduled for a House hearing on Tuesday, March 12 at noonin the House Elections and Elected Officials Committee.

The initiative petition process is an important tool of direct democracy and allows us to maintain our freedom to have a say on important issues. Lawmakers know this, and the Missouri Legislature’s interest in making this process more difficult is a power grab that evades the will of the people. We need you to submit testimony against SJR 74 to fight for our ability to keep our “one person, one vote” majority rule in place.

We’re also closely watching HB 2634, a bill focused on defunding abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood. This organization is one of our last resources in the state to provide health care for transgender adults on state health care insurances. Defunding its access for Medicaid reimbursement is not an option.

The last bill we want to mention — and one you’ve likely seen in the news — is HB 2885. It is a bill introduced last week by Rep. Jamie Gragg (R-140) that would criminalize and require teachers to register as sex offenders for using trans and gender-expansive student’s pronouns or supporting any type of social transitioning. Right now, this bill’s future is uncertain as it has yet to be referred to any committee meaning there are no direct actions to take. However, we’ll continue to watch this with a close eye and share with you any steps you can take to help us defend against this outrageous bill.

We’d also encourage you to read CNN’s article over the bill that showcases a broader look at how legislation such as HB 2885 impacts youth simply by being introduced. We know that bills such as this one specifically harm young people by increasing hateful rhetoric affecting their mental health and putting them at increased risk of bullying. We’re grateful to those who have already reached out about this bill and encourage you to follow our bill tracker for updates.