- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Latest on a Missouri House committee chairman who cut off the president of the Missouri NAACP during testimony against a bill to restrict discrimination lawsuits (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

Criticism is mounting of a Missouri House committee chairman who cut off the state’s NAACP president as he testified against a proposal to restrict discrimination lawsuits.

Both NAACP President Rod Chapel and House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty on Tuesday called on Pineville Republican Rep. Bill Lant to be replaced.

A video by liberal advocacy group Progress Missouri shows Lant during a Monday hearing grew frustrated with Chapel’s discussion of racism and shut off Chapel’s mic.



At issue is a bill to require plaintiffs bringing discrimination lawsuits to prove that race, religion, sex or other protected status was the motivating factor for discrimination or being fired, rather than just a contributing factor.

Assistant House Minority Leader Gina Mitten says Lant’s behavior was racist. Leaders of the Missouri AFL-CIO, LGBT advocacy group PROMO and Empower Missouri also are criticizing Lant.

House Speaker Todd Richardson told reporters he’s not replacing Lant. But Lant is holding another public hearing.

1:30 p.m.

A Missouri House committee chairman under fire for cutting off the state’s NAACP president while testifying against a bill to restrict discrimination lawsuits says he’s holding another public hearing.

Pineville Republican Rep. Bill Lant in a Tuesday statement said his actions prevented open dialogue.

A video by liberal advocacy group Progress Missouri shows Lant during a Monday hearing growing frustrated with NAACP President Rod Chapel’s discussion of racism and shutting off Chapel’s mic.

At issue is a bill to require plaintiffs bringing discrimination lawsuits to prove that race, religion, sex or other protected status was the motivating factor for discrimination or being fired, rather than just a contributing factor.

House Speaker Todd Richardson told reporters he asked Lant to reopen the hearing. He says he’s not replacing Lant as chairman, which Chapel has called for.

12:05 p.m.

The president of the Missouri NAACP is calling for the chairman of a state House committee to be replaced for cutting him off while speaking against a bill to narrow protections against discrimination.

Chapter president Rod Chapel on Tuesday said Pineville Republican Rep. Bill Lant’s actions were discriminatory.

Lant told The Associated Press he apologizes if Chapel found that discriminatory. He says Chapel was off topic.

The bill debated Monday by Lant’s committee would require plaintiffs bringing discrimination lawsuits to prove that race, religion, sex or other protected status was the motivating factor for discrimination or being fired, rather than just a contributing factor.

A video by liberal advocacy group Progress Missouri shows Lant during the hearing grew frustrated with Chapel’s discussion of racism and shut off Chapel’s mic.

11:45 a.m.

The chairman of a Missouri House committee considering a bill that would narrow protections against discrimination is being criticized for cutting off the president of the Missouri NAACP from testifying against the bill.

The bill debated Monday by the House Special Committee on Litigation Reform would require plaintiffs bringing discrimination lawsuits to prove that race, religion, sex or other protected status was the motivating factor for discrimination or being fired, rather than just a contributing factor. It also would prevent employees from suing other employees and cap damages in discrimination lawsuits.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (https://bit.ly/2lH4A9S ) when Missouri NAACP President Rod Chapel was testifying against the bill, committee chairman Bill Lant, a Republican from Pineville, grew frustrated with Chapel’s discussion of racism in Missouri and shut off Chapel’s mic.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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