Businesses warn Missouri Republicans their ‘backwards and bigoted’ culture war will harm the state

Missouri Republicans are preparing a blitz of new legislation that would directly attack LGBTQ people, demonize them as a sexual risk to children, and strip them of various rights — and local business leaders are warning it would cause harm to the state, reported KSDK this week.

“Business advocates warned the proposals would harm the state’s economic attractiveness, and could result in companies or workers avoiding moving to Missouri,” reported Mark Maxwell. “‘There is a group of employees who won’t come here because they think Missouri is a backwards and bigoted state,’ Shannon Cooper with the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce said.”

The proposals in the legislature, noted the report, “would expand existing child pornography laws to restrict minors from attending drag shows, regulate competitive sports to prevent transgender girls from competing against other girls or women, and would outlaw transgender medical transition procedures for minors. If the package of bills become law, doctors who provide puberty blockers, gender hormones, or transition surgeries to minors could lose their license, face lawsuits, and serve time in jail.” Also protesting the move is the only transgender clinic in the region, with a spokesperson saying, “The compassionate care we provide is recognized and accepted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Psychological Association, and other medical societies.”

The sports regulations too, came under heavy scrutiny. “Democrats suggested the state should adopt NCAA or Olympic standards for transgender inclusion policies, and warned the GOP proposals could drive business away from Missouri,” said the report. “Mayor Quinton Lucas told lawmakers on the committee that his city would’ve lost out on bringing the World Cup to Kansas City in 2026 if the state legislature had adopted restrictions against transgender athletes.”

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There is precedent for such laws leading to boycotts and economic problems for states. Most famously, a bill banning transgender people from the restroom of their gender in North Carolina cost the state nearly $4 billion in economic backlash, with the NCAA even pulling out of the state until the law was modified. Pat McCrory, the Republican governor who signed that legislation, went on to lose re-election in 2016.

According to the report, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft came to the hearing to speak in support of the bill, saying “I’m here to protect women’s sports … And I also like the idea of protecting children from inappropriate adult content,” prompting accusations from Democrats in the hearing of showboating for a future gubernatorial run. “Are your official job duties election related or sports related?” asked Rep. Keri Ingle.