Organizational Sign-On Letter Opposing Anti-Diversity Bills

The text of the letter follows:
To Members of the Missouri General Assembly:
Language to limit diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives has been included in many bills this session. We believe these bills will result in wide-ranging consequences that would undermine lawmakers’ health, economic and workforce priorities. As such, we urge you to oppose any legislation that would limit public or private entities from conducting training or providing initiatives that include diversity, equity and inclusion.

Many bills under consideration include some form of this language, including HB 2365, HB 2448, HB 2567, HB 2569, and HB 2619, among others. Some would limit restrictions to state departments, while others include limits on public and private higher education medical institutions.

Multiple programs and services provided through all of these entities are either required by their accrediting bodies to incorporate the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion into their programs, or are specifically designed to improve health and economic opportunities for Missourians based on longstanding disparities.

Failure to meet the standards of accreditation would result in far reaching consequences. Some examples:

• If accreditation standards are not met, Missouri would lose hundreds of millions - possibly billions - in federal funding to support services for Missourians through Department of Mental Health facilities, the Department of Health and Seniors Services, and the Department of Social Services Children’s Division, among others. The Department of Mental Health (DMH) alone estimates a loss of at least $225 million due to loss of accreditation at DMH operated facilities.
• Loss of accreditation of Missouri’s public and private higher education programs would jeopardize licensure for an array of health and mental health professions, including those that train nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, public health officials and more.
• The inability to obtain licensure would result in thousands of Missourians leaving the state to pursue education and careers in the health and mental health fields, worsening the State’s health care workforce shortage.
Other programs provided through state departments embed diversity, equity and inclusion into their services, including targeted workforce and economic development programs and tax credits, and the Missouri Department of Public Safety’s continuing education for law enforcement that includes education in racial profiling and implicit bias.
Moreover, Missourians continue to face deep disparities in health and economic opportunities and corresponding outcomes based on race, ethnicity and gender. These bills would undermine efforts to understand and address those disparities.

Recent research conducted by the Perryman Group found that efforts to undermine diversity, equity and inclusion would have reverberating impacts throughout Missouri’s economy. The analysis found that legislation to limit diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives would result in a loss of $2.6 billion in Missouri’s annual gross domestic product and a corresponding loss of 23,842 jobs by 2030.

We oppose efforts to limit diversity, equity and inclusion in state law.

Question Title

* 1. Please add your name and contact information as you want it to be included on the letter to lawmakers.