Missouri House votes to ban diversity spending in government

(AP Photo/David A. Lieb)
(AP Photo/David A. Lieb)(David A. Lieb | AP)
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 9:14 AM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s Republican-led House on Tuesday voted to ban state government spending on diversity, equity, and inclusion, including at public colleges and universities.

During work on the state budget, lawmakers voted to prohibit government funding from paying for staff, vendors, consultants, and programs “associated with diversity, equity (and) inclusion.”

Bans on diversity spending for every state agency are expected to be proposed as the House debates the state budget through the night Tuesday.

Under the proposed restrictions, state spending would be banned from going to initiatives that promote “collective guilt,” “the concept that disparities are necessarily tied to oppression,” and “intersectional or divisive identity activism,” among other concepts.

Republican Rep. Doug Richey of Excelsior Springs pushed to add the prohibitions on diversity spending to every bill in the extensive budget package, arguing that the concepts are neo-Marxist and racist ideas.

“We can be respectful and accommodating without it,” Richey said of policies on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Democrats called the bans racist and prejudiced.

“This amendment is very dangerous,” St. Louis Democratic Rep. Marlene Terry said. “It’s taking us back to the Jim Crow laws. We need to pay attention.”

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