Under the bill, gun owners who carry their firearms with them in a lawful manner (i.e. possess a concealed-carry permit) cannot be fired, denied benefits, or otherwise discriminated against. It was sponsored by State Rep. Wanda Brown (R, Cole Camp).
Senate Democrats spent five hours Wednesday blocking the bill before sitting down. Today, there was no debate, only a 23 to 8 straight party-line vote. Brad Lager (R, Savannah) handled the bill in the Senate. He says he fully expects the governor, a Democrat, to veto the bill.
The bill would change the definition by making discrimination a motivating factor in any action taken by an employer against an employee, instead of a contributing factor as established by court rulings in recent years. House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka) argued that the current standard is killing small businesses in Missouri.
The vote was a mere formality following last week’s battle to kill the measure. Maria Chappelle-Nadal of University City and several other Senate Democrats had conducted a filibuster, but gave in after language guaranteeing jury trials in discrimination lawsuits was added to the bill. But she still spoke out against it, in particular, the Missouri Chamber’s claim that the bill would help curb frivolous lawsuits.
The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would redefine workplace discrimination, after an agreement was reached between the bill’s sponsor and a group of Democrats that had been blocking it.
The agreement took the form of an amendment to the bill, which would guarantee the right to a jury trial in any workplace discrimination case. State Senator Brad Lager (R, Savannah), the bill’s sponsor, agreed to support the amendment.