JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – SJR 39 looks like it will have the votes to pass the Emerging Issues Committee after Rep. Ron Hicks said on the #moleg podcast Thursday that he would be voting for the resolution.
Hicks, R-St. Peters, had been considered the potential swing vote on the committee, but he brings the bill to the seven votes needed to move on. Reps. Elijah Haahr, Gary Cross, Jack Bondon, Jim Hansen, Bill Lant and Dave Muntzel are the other votes thought to be in favor of the legislation.
“I’m voting yes. I’m going to stand up and I’m going to stand behind it,” he said.
Tuesday night’s hearing on the bill officially lasted four hours with testimony from bill sponsor Sen. Bob Onder and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder in support. The Missouri, Kansas City, St. Louis Chambers of Commerce all testified against the bill, as well as Monsanto and the sport authorities for both Kansas City and St. Louis.
The business community has been very organized and active in rallying against the bill, arguing it would hurt both their customers and keep them from attracting talented people to join the workforce. Gov. Jay Nixon echoed those concerns Thursday.
“The business part of this is very real,” Nixon said. “Good businesses want to sell their products to everyone they can sell them too and they want to attract as diverse a workforce as possible. Anything that this legislature does, or anything that we do, that limits their business’ to sell their products to as many people as possible and have as diverse a workforce as possible, is going to hurt us in a world economy.”
One possibility for SJR 39 is an amendment that would remove the business protections and leave the clergy protections in place. That could attract broader support in the House.