Jefferson City, Mo. – As America celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, State Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) is opposing legislation introduced in the Missouri House that would weaken protections for minority and women-owned businesses in Missouri by allowing any business to claim this designation if their employees are at least 25 percent minority population or women.

“Women and minority populations are at an inherent disadvantage in today’s economy, and this legislation would make a bad problem worse. The idea behind this bill is like saying a plantation owner who share cropped his land is a minority business. This entire effort is absurd and offensive,” said Sen. Nasheed. “Under this legislation, if a man owns a business, and women employees are outnumbers three-to-one, that man can suddenly claim he is a women-owned business. Give me a break. This legislation should be sent immediately where it belongs, in the trash. Make no mistake, this is a ridiculous piece of legislation and it will not see the light of day under my watch.”

Under current Missouri law, a Minority Business Enterprises is a business that is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more minority persons. A Woman Business Enterprise is a business that is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by a woman.