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NAACP Issues Unprecedented Travel Advisory For The State Of Missouri

By Stephen Gossett in News on Aug 2, 2017 3:22PM

Getty Images / Photo: Joe Raedle

The NAACP recently took the unprecedented step of issuing a travel advisory for the state of Missouri. The advisory urges travelers of color, women and LGBT people to "travel with extreme caution" in the state.

The warning comes in the wake of the Missouri's approval of a law that makes it harder to legally prove discrimination—a law that the organization earlier this year said would "foster a new era of Jim Crow."

Under the "Jim Crow bill," as critics have dubbed it, plaintiffs who accuse housing or employment discrimination will be required to prove that factors of race, religion, sexual orientation and gender are "motivating" factors, rather than "contributing" factors. The change is set to take effect later this month. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens argues that the "motivating standard" application is in line with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The bill also strips state-employee protections from its whistleblower laws, limits damages for employment-discrimination lawsuits and makes it so that plaintiffs can only businesses—rather than individuals also—cited in discrimination claims.

In addition to the controversial law, the advisory also cites a state's attorney general's report that found black drivers are 75 percent more likely than white drivers to be pulled over by police in the state last year. Other factors mentioned include the racist incidents at the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou) that prompted large-scale protests; a legislator who reportedly spoke of a "distinction between homosexuality and just being a human being" on the House floor in May; and more generally, a "long history" of "violent and dehumanizing" discriminatory behavior.

The Missouri chapter of the NAACP took up the travel advisory in June, and the national organization voted in July to adopt it as well, Rod Chapel, president of the state chapter, told the AP.

"They're legalizing discrimination in the state of Missouri," Chapel Jr. told CBS News.

NAACP Springfield president Cheryl Clay told USA Today that the advisory is not a boycott of Missouri but rather a warning that's also intended to push back against the law.