House bill could limit state funded protections

Kevin Wilson, (R-Neosho), introduced a bill this session that would prevent public institution receiving state funds from engaging in anti-discrimination practices that are deemed excessive.

Similar legislation was introduced last year that dealt strictly with educational institutions. The bill was introduced after a man dressed as a woman accompanied his daughter on a school field trip.

Wilson, who serves on the education committee, supported the bill.

“What really concerns me is what bathroom did that parent use?” Wilson said.

The bill did not pass and since then the University of Missouri -Columbia has created an anti-discrimination policy that classifies lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender as a special protected class.

The bill introduced this year would include not only schools, but also any other state funded organization.

“This exceeds federal guidelines for protective classes,” Wilson said. “It is not just an education issue. Any time you add another protective class to a non-discrimination policy, you open the state up to new law suits.

“You create a reason for them to sue. It is an economic issue for the state.”

Marilyn Ruestman, (R-Joplin), said she agreed with the bill.

“I think that to use taxpayers money to fund this would be a discrimination,” Ruestman said.

“Because a certain segment is being set aside to get funds, being made into a minority. I don’t care how people choose to live, but I don’t think taxpayer’s money should be used for or against any group. I wouldn’t support it if we had a lot of money in the budget.”

“I let local institutions do what they want to do,” said Rep. Ron Richard, R-Newton County. “They are putting gays and lesbians in the same category with race, creed and religion. Let the curators, the boards and the presidents make these decisions.

“They can have that argument. I’m just not sure I want to force people to do these things.”

The bill had its second reading Jan. 9 on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives.

It has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.