Worker discrimination bill passes in Senate.
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Worker discrimination bill passes in Senate.

Date: March 8, 2012
By: Paige Hornor
State Capitol Bureau
Links: SB 592 HB 1219

JEFFERSON CITY - After a Wednesday evening filibuster, the Senate passed a bill that would change worker discrimination laws on Thursday morning.

It would require discrimination to be a motivating factor, not just a contributing one, in lawsuits.

It would also limit damages in these cases.

The bill passed by a vote of 23-8 along party lines, but the bill's sponsor, Sen. Brad Lager, R-Maryville, expects a veto from the governor.

"Hopefully, what will happen is after we get back from Spring break, we'll have the opportunity to get some feedback from him and we still have the Senate bill in the House and we can always move that bill if we can come to an agreement," said Lager.

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a similar bill last year.

"Considering the lack of the communication that has come out of his office to date, meaning they have not given us any indication that they are willing to work with us on this, or try to give us any direction on where we need to go, I think they want to veto it," said Lager.

Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis County, spoke against the bill for five hours during the Wednesday night filibuster.

"I am very happy that the bill is going to be vetoed by the Governor and I don't think at this point there are enough votes to override that veto in the House," said Chapelle-Nadal.

Chapelle-Nadal filibustered the same bill in February.

She said that it is a travesty that so much time was spent on a bill that is very likely to be vetoed, but the conversations about discrimination were valuable. Lager says even if the bill doesn't pass this year, it's something that's not going away.

"We've got to fix these problems so that we can have a healthy business climate going forward. That's how you create jobs," said Lager.

Lager said he is comfortable with how the bill has been amended and will continue working to find something that everyone is satisfied with.

The bill now heads to the governor's desk.


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