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Missouri Republicans propose 2 bills to eliminate diversity and inclusion efforts at colleges

The Missouri State Capitol on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
This Missouri State Capitol on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Legislation that would prohibit colleges from hiring diversity, equity and inclusion consultants and remove diversity questions from hiring requirements was heard by a House committee last week.

A Democratic lawmaker from Clay County is speaking out against two bills filed in the Missouri House would eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts at colleges and universities.

H.B. 1196, sponsored by Rep. Doug Richey (R-Clay County), prohibits the requirement of DEI statements from job applicants, students and employees, calling such efforts "discriminatory ideology."

Rep. Maggie Nurrenbern (D-Clay County) opposes the legislation.

"This was absolutely one of the most detrimental (bills) I've seen to date," says Nurrenbern. "Why would (a person) want to attend a university in this state if all of this was prohibited, if in the institution where more than anything critical thinking should be embraced, they're essentially censored?"

H.B. 489, sponsored by Rep. Ben Baker (R-Newton County), prohibits medical schools and licensing boards from having DEI requirements or audits, or from hiring DEI consultants.

"We heard that from our med schools, we heard that from med students, from universities, they're terrified of this legislation," says Nurrenbern.

Should the bills pass, Nurrenbern says failing to comply could result in loss of accreditation and funding for higher education institutions.

Nurrenbern joined Up To Date to discuss her opposition to the proposed legislation.

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