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Filibuster over, Mo. Senate endorses workplace discrimination bill

Mo. Capitol at night
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
Mo. Capitol at night

The Missouri Senatehas given first-round approval tolegislationthat 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.

“As the Senator from the 14th said, I think she’s identified an area here where clearly there was confusion,” Lager said just before the vote.  “I think we are moving in the right direction here.”

The agreement ended a filibuster that began last week and took up nearly 14 ½ hours of floor time Wednesday, stretching into the early morning hours today.

The jury trial amendment was sponsored byMaria Chappelle-Nadal(D, University City).  She says, though, that the bill’s definition of what constitutes workplace discrimination is still flawed.

“I believe that the standard should be contributing factor, not motivating factor,” Chappelle-Nadal said.  “When there’s a motivating factor, there’s a higher burden (of proof) on the victim.”

Chappelle-Nadal voted “no” for first-round approval and says she may decide to launch another filibuster if she feels it’s necessary.

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.