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Letter: Missouri has many weapons to avoid growth

Letter: Missouri has many weapons to avoid growth

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Last day of the Missouri Legislature’s 2021 regular session

Missouri House lawmakers applaud Speaker Rob Vescovo on the House floor on Friday, May 14, 2021, on the final day of the current legislative session at the capitol building in Jefferson City. Photo by Christian Gooden,

Bill McClellan’s satirical column “Missouri has a secret weapon to avoid growth” (May 23) seems incomplete to me.

Missouri’s GOP Legislature has an arsenal of weapons that stymie economic expansion. Still strong is opposition to adding employment, housing, public accommodations and health care protections for LGBTQ Missourians. However, businesses realize increasingly that inclusive business practices lead to more productive and engaged employees, increased customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, improved competitiveness that improves the bottom line.

In addition, four years after the Missouri NAACP issued a warning for Black travelers to stay away, the organization's president, Nimrod Chapel, said the group’s travel advisory is still in effect until Missouri makes “some meaningful progress in the systemic abuses affecting people of color” including disparity in traffic stops and police brutality. Meanwhile, tourism suffers.

Perhaps a repeal of a Missouri law that axed the state’s anti-discrimination law would help. Currently, to win an employment-discrimination case, the law requires people to explicitly prove that their race, sex or other protected status is a “motivating factor” for their boss's or colleagues' mistreatment of them. That's a bar almost impossible to clear. Previously, Missouri workers needed only prove their status was a “contributing factor” to prevail.

And we cannot forget, according to the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, that Medicaid expansion would bolster the economy by creating 16,000 jobs per year for five years, would expand the economy by $2.5 billion and, most importantly, would expand access to health care for 230,000 Missourians.

Perhaps the GOP-led Missouri Legislature needs to arm itself with some common sense and respect for its constituents. 

Ed Shew • Lake Saint Louis

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