JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri General Assembly's new legislative session will kick off at noon on Jan. 3, 2018 with LGBTQ advocates preparing for another year of strategic offense and strong defense.

PROMO, Missouri's statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, has already pre-filed the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA) in the Senate. SB 753, sponsored by Sen. Jill Schupp (D-St. Louis County), would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s Human Rights Act, which currently prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations for other protected categories, including race, sex, and national origin.

2018 marks the 20th time the pro-equality legislation will be filed in the Missouri House and Senate. This legislation was first introduced by Rep. Steve McLuckie (D-Kansas City) in 1998.

Also on deck is a bill to be sponsored by Rep. Tracy McCreery (D-Olivette) which would prohibit licensed professionals from trying to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Other states have done it and it's time for Missouri to step up and protect its vulnerable young people," said McCreery of the legislation at last weekend's Metro Trans Umbrella Group telethon.

According to PROMO, nine states, including Illinois in 2015, have banned so-called "conversion therapy" for minors in some form. Nearly all states have or will introduce bills to ban the practice for minors in some form in 2018.

HB 1360, sponsored by out Rep.Tom Hannegan (R-St. Charles), has also been pre-filed. The bill modifies provisions relating to complaints filed with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights regarding discrimination based upon a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Last year, PROMO defeated nine anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation in the Republican controlled state legislature, and the year prior, prevented an unprecedented 16 pieces of anti-equality legislation from becoming law.

“We anticipate an increase in anti-LGBT bills in 2018, but PROMO is ready," said Steph Perkins, Executive Director of PROMO. "Instead of targeting LGBT Missourians, elected officials should look for ways to expand opportunity, protect people of all ages, and make our state even better for all people — including those who are LGBT.”

To date, two pieces of anti-LGBT legislation have already been pre-filed in Jefferson City with more anti-equality legislation expected:

HB 1434, sponsored by Rep. T.J. Berry (R-Kearney), modifies provisions relating to marriage and replaces marriage licenses with contracts of domestic union.

SB 690, sponsored by Sen. Ed. Emery (R-Lamar), requires that all school shower rooms, locker rooms, and restrooms accessible for use by multiple students shall be designated for and used by male or female students only.



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