HALL MONITOR: “YES” on Blocking Taxpayer Dollars for DEI Expenditures in Missouri (HB 2365 and SB 1314)

Name: Missouri House Bill 2365 and Senate Bill 1314 “relating to expenditures by state departments.” 

Summary: Prohibits taxpayer funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives

Status: HB 2365 was introduced January 9, 2024 and reported Do Pass on February 21, 2024. SB 1314 was referred to the Senate Government Accountability Committee on January 25. 

Sponsors: Rep. Doug Richey sponsored HB 2365. Rep. Jeff Coleman is a cosponsor. Senator Travis Fitzwater sponsored SB 1314. 

Bill Breakdown: 

HB 2365 would ensure that state entities in Missouri—including the department of education—may not spend on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. In addition, state entities cannot fund efforts that promote preferential treatment on the basis of race or sex, teach “collective guilt” or limit free speech. 

Why does PDE Action support this bill? 

Taxpayer funded institutions should not spend money preaching divisive race and gender ideology, period. Past diversity and inclusion efforts ensured colleagues treated each other with respect and dignity in the workplace. Unfortunately, such conversations have been hijacked. Now, employees—including many at public universities and K-12 schools—are taught to view and judge one another by their race or sex. 

The narrative of most DEI trainings today splits people into groups of “oppressors” or “oppressed” based on their race, sex, sexual orientation, or “gender identity.” When this type of thinking seeps into trainings for teachers, it trickles down to the classroom. 

As our friend Jay Greene from the Heritage Foundation said in a blog post on the issue, “[diversity officers] in K-12 public school districts may be educationally counterproductive, because like their higher ed DEI brethren, they are more focused on promoting a political agenda than they are on finding effective education interventions.” 

Legislation like Missouri’s HB 2365 would ensure that public dollars are not spent on promulgating divisive race and gender ideology to teachers and other public employees.