Though HB 2051, which would prohibit classroom discussion of sexual orientation appears dead for this session, the fallout from the filing of the legislation continues. The following is from a news release issued Tuesday.
Representatives Zach Wyatt and Stacey Newman will formally call on Speaker Steve Tilley, Majority Leader Tim Jones, HB2051 Sponsor Steve Cookson and the other 17 cosponsors of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation to withdraw their support from the bill and commit to not introducing similar language in future legislative sessions.
Despite widespread condemnation of the proposal and a public commitment from Chairman Scott Dieckhaus to kill the bill in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, Rep. Cookson, Speaker Tilley and Leader Jones have continued to defend the bill’s intent and language. Rep. Cookson has left open the possibility of introducing the legislation again next year. Meanwhile, the Missouri Family Network is encouraging other legislators to publicly add their names as supporters of HB2051.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 9:30-10:00 AM
- Who: Representative Zach Wyatt; Representative Stacey Newman; AJ Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO
- Where: Hearing Room 5, State Capitol
- When: Wednesday, May 2, 9:30 am
Bigoted statements and actions from Rep. Cookson, Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst and other HB2051 supporters are exactly why Missouri needs strong, comprehensive anti-bullying legislation that protects all students from bullies. Anti-bullying legislation passed the Missouri General Assembly in 2006, but failed to include a list of students most often singled out and targeted for bullying. Without such a list in the law, school districts, administrators, and teachers do not have a clear understanding or training in how to recognize and handle all bullying situations. TheSafe Schools Act would clarify these issues and reduce the negative impact of bullying upon LGBT students.
HB2051 is sponsored by Rep. Steve Cookson (R-Fairdealing), and co-sponsored by Speaker Steve Tilley (R-Perryville), Majority Leader Tim Jones (R-Eureka), John Diehl (R-Town and Country), Dwight Scharnhorst (R-St. Louis), Andrew Koenig (R-Winchester), Lyle Rowland (R-Cedarcreek), Charlie Denison (R-Springfield), Lindell Shumake (R-Hannibal), Kurt Bahr (R-St. Charles), Don Wells (R-Cabool), Eric Burlison (R-Springfield), Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan), Doug Funderburk (R-St. Peters), Jeff Grisamore (R-Lee's Summit), Mark Parkinson (R-St. Charles), Paul Fitzwater (R-Potosi), Bill Lant (R-Joplin), Mike McGhee (R-Odessa) and Jay Houghton (R-Martinsburg).