The measure would also name a portion of a highway after the popular and inflammatory right-wing radio host, who died earlier this year

By Virginia Chamlee
April 14, 2021 06:06 PM
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Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh in 2006
| Credit: Win McNamee/Getty

Missouri lawmakers are considering a controversial piece of legislation that would set aside one day each January as a day to honor the provocative and widely popular radio host Rush Limbaugh.

The right-wing personality, who frequently courted backlash over his decades-long career, is a native of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

He died in February due to complications from lung cancer.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that, on Tuesday, a Missouri Senate committee debated legislation that would declare Limbaugh's birthday (Jan. 12) to be "Rush Limbaugh Day."

A similar proposal has been introduced in the state House and encourages Missourians to "celebrate the day by participating in appropriate events and activities to remember the life of the famous Missourian and groundbreaking radio host."

Both bills, which are sponsored by conservative lawmakers from Limbaugh's hometown, would also name a six-mile stretch of highway the Rush Limbaugh Memorial Highway. 

Democrats voiced opposition to the measures, which they said would celebrate a divisive figure who routinely disparaged others. According to the Post-Dispatch, "Scores of opponents submitted written testimony urging lawmakers to reject the proposal."

During a committee meeting, as reported by the Missouri Independent, Democratic state Sen. Lauren Arthur cited Limbaugh's many insults, saying, "I don't know what message it sends to everyone who lives in this state that we are honoring someone who at times used pretty hateful rhetoric."

Limbaugh made a name for himself as a provocateur, routinely making inflammatory comments that were racist, homophobic and misogynistic. A staunch Donald Trump supporter, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the former president in 2020.

Since his death, conservative lawmakers have worked to celebrate his life, with mixed reactions.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis was criticized over his decision to have flags in his state be lowered to half-staff in the wake of Limbaugh's death.

"There's not much that needs to be said. The guy was an absolute legend. He was a friend of mine and just a great person," DeSantis, 42, said at a February news conference in West Palm Beach.

Critics — including state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried — said at the time they shouldn't "celebrate hate speech, bigotry and division," referring to Limbaugh's infamous rhetoric. 

"Lowering to half-staff the flag of the United States of America is a sacred honor that pays respect to fallen heroes and patriots. It is not a partisan political tool. Therefore, I will notify all state offices under my direction to disregard the Governor's forthcoming order to lower flags for Mr. Limbaugh – because we will not celebrate hate speech, bigotry, and division," Fried, 43, wrote in a statement issued after DeSantis' announcement.