St. Louis, Mo. — As the Missouri House convenes Monday, St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green released a statement alongside the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions, a national coalition of more than 1,000 individuals, organizations, and local elected officials.
The General Assembly is currently in special session considering SB 5, which will preempt a local non-discrimination ordinance promoted by Alderwoman Ellyia Green, who represents the 15th Ward in St. Louis. The local ordinance prohibits discrimination by employers and landlords based on reproductive health decisions.
Governor Eric Greitens and the General Assembly have been criticized for the costly, “extreme, expensive, and unnecessary” special session, particularly for passing SB 5 in a “shameful” late-night session.
“By taking away our non-discrimination ordinance, the Missouri General Assembly is sending the message that it’s okay to discriminate against women for their personal reproductive choices,” said Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green. “When the federal government passes policies that impact states, the General Assembly sees it as government overreach. But when the state takes away policies that are passed by local municipalities, it’s in the name of protecting taxpayers. Regardless of what the General Assembly does, the City of St. Louis will continue to fight to protect women from harmful laws passed at the state and federal level.”
“Whether for defending women’s reproductive rights, protecting higher wages and sick leave, or safeguarding our environment, local ordinances and communities are under attack across the nation,” said Michael Alfano, Campaign Manager for CDLS. “State lawmakers are silencing the voices of St. Louis residents and Missourians, and doing so at great taxpayer expense. Governor Greitens and the General Assembly need to respect the authority of local cities and local citizens.”
This is part of a growing trend of conservative state legislatures banning local ordinances with which they disagree, despite local authority. More on this trend from The Atlantic‘s CityLab.
Launched in January by Mayor Andrew Gillum of Tallahassee, Florida, the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions has become one of the nation’s leading organizations fighting state preemption of local ordinances. Last week, the group filed an amicus brief in Ohio state court to defend a Cleveland local hiring ordinance preempted by the Ohio General Assembly. Earlier this year, the organization helped defeat an NRA-backed firearms case in Florida state court.
The coalition includes mayors and councilmembers from 16 states, as well as partners including Mayors Against Illegal Guns, States United Against Gun Violence, and the National Black Justice Coalition, among others. Read more about CDLS in Slate, The Nation, DailyKos, and Florida Politics.