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Missouri governor calls for new veterans hiring law

Gov. Eric Greitens. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The Robin Hood Foundation)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is pushing for a law to protect private businesses from lawsuits if they give preference to veterans in hiring or promotions.

Greitens spokesman Parker Briden says employers who favor veterans could face discrimination lawsuits under federal employment laws, but there’s an exception for states that pass their own laws allowing the practice.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 38 other states have similar laws.

Lawmakers sponsoring the Missouri legislation and St. Louis employment attorneys say they’re not aware of lawsuits against Missouri businesses for favoring veterans.

Attorneys Jon Berns and Ben Westhoff say veterans most often face bias in firing or other employment practices because of disabilities that resulted from their military service or because of the time off they need to serve.