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Black religious leaders decry Missouri bills as biased

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Black religious leaders rallied Thursday at the Missouri Capitol and met with political leaders to denounce pending bills that the clergy members say are racially biased.

The Rev. Darryl Gray, a longtime St. Louis activist who organized the event, said faith leaders planned to meet with lawmakers, Gov. Mike Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s staff. Parson and Schmitt are both Republicans.

Gray said in a statement that religious leaders were trying to convince lawmakers to drop legislation that he called “dangerous, discriminatory and anti-democratic.”

Gray said Black leaders were concerned about bills that would make it more difficult for citizens to put issues on the ballot.

He also said they were outraged about lawmakers’ refusing to pay for voter-approved Medicaid expansion, and raised issues with legislation that would crack down on protesters who block highways.

Gray cautioned that “those who would engage in taking away our rights and freedoms will be remembered next election.”

Lawmakers face a May 14 deadline to send bills to Parson.

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