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St. Louis Regional Chamber awards anti-SJR 39 and pro-business legislators


ST. LOUIS – Last week, the St. Louis Regional Chamber awarded six legislators the title of “Chamber Champion” for their work in defeating SJR 39.

Reps. Mike Colona, Jim Hansen, Jeremy LaFaver, Sharon Pace, Caleb Rowden and Anne Zerr were the six representatives who voted against the controversial “religious liberties” measure in the Emerging Issues Committee in April. The chambers of commerce from St. Louis, Kansas City and the Missouri Chamber all opposed the legislation, citing fears of decreased economic activity in states that had passed similar legislation.

The bill would have allowed business owners to refuse service based on religious belief for their goods or services if it was to be used in a wedding by a same-sex couple. Opponents feared the law amounted to discrimination.

Other Chamber Champions awarded last week had nothing to do with the legislation. Rep. Mike Kelley earned one for his sponsorship of the Missouri Earned Income Tax Credit, and Sen. Bob Dixon received the award for sponsoring a deadly force bill.

Speaker Todd Richardson and Sen. Doug Libla earned Advocate Awards for their work on ethics reform and transportation funding, respectively. Outgoing budget chairs Sen. Kurt Schaefer and Rep. Tom Flanigan received funds for their work in funding the Missouri Technology Corporation.

Reps. Shamed Dogan and Justin Alferman each received Catalyst Awards, given to “up-and-coming” legislators whose priorities lie in line with the chamber, and Sen. Eric Schmitt and former Sen. Joe Keaveny received Legacy Awards to honor their service in the General Assembly as a whole.