ST. LOUIS, MO — Missouri has joined repressive regimes like Myanmar and violence-stricken countries like Honduras on Fodor’s 2018 list of places tourists should avoid. It marks the first time a U.S. state has made the list.
"The Show-Me State is full of wonders that belong on anyone’s travel bucket list," the site’s explanation reads. "Unfortunately, Missouri is also the place where SB-43 passed, making it more difficult to sue employers for discrimination, a state representative argued that homosexuals weren’t human beings, a tourist who got lost and ran out of gas was later found murdered in his jail cell without ever being put under arrest, and two men were hunted down and shot on suspicion of being Muslim on the outskirts of Kansas City. And that’s just in 2017."
Last summer, the NAACP also issued a travel advisory warning people — especially minorities — to be careful in Missouri, citing an attorney general’s report that black drivers are 75 percent more likely to be stopped by police in the state than white drivers. It also mentioned the recently-passed SB-43, which it called a "Jim Crow Bill."
Missouri lost half a million dollars in federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development after SB-43 passed. The bill placed caps on the amount of money discrimination victims could win in civil lawsuits and removed retaliation protections for reporting landlords for discrimination, putting the state out of compliance with federal regulations.
Nimrod Chapel, Jr., head of the Missouri Chapter of the NAACP told Fodor’s that Missouri has "a separate standard of laws" for people of color, senior citizens and Americans with disabilities.
Missouri joins countries like Myanmar, whose government the United Nations says is perpetrating a genocide against Rohingya Muslims; Honduras, which has the highest murder rate in the world; and Cuba, which has been the site of mysterious sonic attacks against U.S. embassy employees, on Fodor’s list, which the travel site says amounts to tough love and is meant to encourage reform.
Democratic State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed introduced a bill in December to end discriminatory policing in the state. It would enact a number of measures that supporters say would positively impact Missouri’s economy and communities across the state, including requiring law enforcement to keep data on traffic stops and strengthening Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches. The bill has not yet seen a vote.
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