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The Latest: Missouri House votes against LGBT protections

January 15, 2019 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on Missouri House rules on open records (all times local):

1:40 p.m.

Missouri House members have voted against protecting staff from being fired for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

House members in a Tuesday voice vote rejected the proposed change to House internal rules.

Kansas City Democratic Rep. Greg Razer is gay and pushed for the change. He says that people should not be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Razer told colleagues that “your religious views may say we’re going to hell. But we also have the right to have a job.”

Springfield Republican Rep. Curtis Trent raised concerns that adding those protections for LGBT House staffers could infringe on religious liberty. He said there needs to be more debate on the issue, and said it shouldn’t be decided in an internal rule change.

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1 p.m.

Missouri House members will have the option to make some of their emails confidential, despite a voter-approved requirement that made their work records open to the public.

House members in a voice vote approved the change Tuesday as part of a broader package of internal House rules.

Republican House Majority Leader Rob Vescovo originally proposed making lawmakers’ records on party strategy and correspondence with constituents confidential.

But Republican Rep. Nick Schroer on Tuesday recommended giving individual lawmakers the discretion to close those records or leave them open.

Missouri voters in November overwhelmingly approved Constitutional Amendment 1, which added lawmakers to a long list of taxpayer-paid officials subject to the state’s open-records law. The law gives the public access to government records.

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9:15 a.m.

Missouri House members are trying to exempt themselves from part of a voter-approved requirement that made their work emails open to the public.

Republican House Majority Leader Rob Vescovo’s proposal is expected to come up for debate Tuesday.

It would make lawmakers’ records on party strategy confidential. It also would exempt emails with constituents from the new open-records requirement.

Missouri voters in November overwhelmingly approved Constitutional Amendment 1, which added lawmakers to a long list of taxpayer-paid officials subject to the state’s open-records law. The law gives the public access to government records.

Vescovo was not immediately available to comment to The Associated Press about the proposed changes on Tuesday.

But House Minority Leader Crystal Quade says there’s no need for it. She says Democrats will try to fight it.