The NAACP has put out its first-ever travel warning for a state over legislation recently signed by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens that stiffens requirements for filing discrimination lawsuits.
The advisory tells travelers to exercise “extreme caution” in Missouri because they could be subject to “discrimination and harassment,” CBS News reported.
The warning cited data indicating higher traffic stop rates for black drivers in Missouri and the recently passed Senate Bill 43, which requires alleged victims of religious, gender or racial discrimination to prove it is the “motivating” factor.
The governor told a local Fox affiliate that SB43 was a “really important bill.”
“What SB43 did was it brought Missouri standards in line with the Federal Government and 38 other states, so now Missouri is using the same standards that are used to analyze claims under the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Mr. Greitens said.
But attorney Nimrod Chapel Jr., president of the NAACP in Missouri, said the bill legalizes discrimination. He calls it the “Jim Crow bill,” telling CBS News that “in the eyes of the NAACP, that’s what it was breathing life into.”
“You have violations of civil rights that are happening to people,” Mr. Chapel told the Kansas City Star. “They’re being pulled over because of their skin color, they’re being beaten up or killed. We are hearing complaints at a rate we haven’t heard before.”
The advisory, adopted last week during the NAACP national conference in Baltimore, will be sent to the national board for ratification in October.
“The advisory is for people to be aware, and warn their families and friends and co-workers of what could happen in Missouri,” Mr. Chapel said. “People need to be ready, whether it’s bringing bail money with them, or letting relatives know they are traveling through the state.”
The governor said he hasn’t seen the travel warning but looks forward to continue working with the NAACP.
“I haven’t seen what they put out,” Mr. Greitens told Fox. “I will tell you we’ve had a great relationship with the NAACP during my first six months in office and I look forward to continuing to work with them.”