- Associated Press - Thursday, March 2, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A bill to raise the standard for bringing discrimination lawsuits has passed the Missouri Senate.

Senators voted 23-9 along party lines to pass the measure Thursday. It now moves to the House.

The legislation would require plaintiffs bringing discrimination lawsuits to prove that race, religion, sex or other protected status was the motivating reason for discrimination or being fired, rather than just a contributing factor.

Republican backers and pro-business groups say it’s too easy to sue for discrimination in the state. Democrats and advocacy groups such as the NAACP say the measure would mean employers who harass or discriminate go unpunished.

Senate Democrats slammed the bill for hours during debate on the bill earlier this week. It advanced after a bipartisan deal was reached to scale back the proposal.

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