St. Louis County NAACP now supports Missouri travel advisory

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis branch of the NAACP now "wholeheartedly supports" its national headquarters' decision to issue a travel advisory for Missouri due to concerns about a state law that rolls back discrimination protections for workers.

The St. Louis County branch initially called on the national NAACP to rescind the advisory, saying it could hurt the region's economy and harm African-Americans working in the hospitality industry, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

But on Saturday, the St. Louis County chapter said in a statement that it had a "change of heart after additional study and consultation with our state conference."

The advisory cites a new state law that makes it more difficult to sue for housing or employment discrimination. The state NAACP chapter said the measure could make it tougher to hold people accountable for harassment and discrimination.

"Those who sponsored this bill have used deceptive tactics to conceal what they've actually done," St. Louis County NAACP President Esther Haywood in a news release. "They've taken away our protections from unlawful and immoral discrimination. Just how far back in time are they planning to take us?"

Supporters argue that the law will help reduce "frivolous lawsuits" in the state.

The NAACP passed a first-of-its-kind emergency resolution in July warning people of color of the dangers of traveling in Missouri.

"Race, gender and color based crimes have a long history in Missouri," the resolution reads.

The advisory also cites a report showing black Missouri drivers last year were 75 percent more likely than whites to be stopped.

The bill was among several changes to Missouri's legal system backed by the Republican-led Legislature and GOP Gov. Eric Greitens, who want to make a less favorable climate for lawsuits.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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