JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri NAACP issued an advisory that tells travelers to be careful while in the state because of a danger that civil rights won’t be respected, state chapter President Rod Chapel said Monday.
The advisory cites a bill passed by lawmakers this year that would make it more difficult to sue for housing or employment discrimination. The legislation is on the desk of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, who has not said whether he’ll sign the bill but has supported other efforts to rein in lawsuits in an attempt to improve the legal climate for businesses in the state.
A spokesman for the governor didn’t immediately comment Monday.
The state NAACP has strongly criticized the legislation, which Chapel said could make it tougher to hold people accountable for harassment and discrimination against women, people with disabilities and others.
“At this point, I think everybody’s’ civil rights are now in jeopardy,” he said.
Some Republican lawmakers and supporters including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry argued the change will help to reduce the number of “frivolous lawsuits” they say have made it challenging to do business in the state.
Chapel said the advisory follows a “culmination of issues that are critical to civil rights in Missouri.” Other issues cited in the advisory include a recent attorney general’s report that shows black Missouri drivers last year were 75 percent more likely to be stopped than whites.
Chapel also said the organization’s state chapter is considering a full boycott, a tactic that’s been used against other states that have adopted conservative policies.
The NAACP in February launched an economic boycott in North Carolina over the state’s so-called bathroom bill as well as ongoing legal fights over voting rights. In May, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a warning about traveling to Texas because of the state’s new law banning so-called sanctuary cities.
The Missouri NAACP and other opponents of the bill on discrimination are rallying Tuesday at the Capitol to urge Greitens to veto the legislation.