Lawmakers in Missouri are sponsoring legislation to honor late radio host and native son Rush Limbaugh, including designating his January 12 birthday as Rush Limbaugh Day and naming a six-mile stretch of Interstate 55 as Rush Limbaugh Memorial Highway.
Legislation to designate a six-mile section of Interstate 55 in Cape Girardeau County as the “Rush Limbaugh Memorial Highway” is working its way through both the Missouri House and Senate this week.
The Southeast Missourian reported on the bills working their way through state lawmaking bodies:
State Rep. Wayne Wallingford (R-147/Cape Girardeau) introduced House Bill 1259 on Feb. 23, six days after Limbaugh died of cancer in Florida. On Monday, Wallingford’s measure passed the lower chamber’s Transportation Committee on a party-line vote of 10-4 and has been referred to the Rules-Legislative Oversight panel for review.
State Sen. Holly Rehder (R-27/Scott City), sponsor of Senate Bill 533, also advocated for a highway memorial to Limbaugh during a public hearing Tuesday.
Rehder, who took her Senate seat in January, introduced separate legislation, Senate Bill 532, to designate Jan. 12, Limbaugh’s birthday, as Rush Limbaugh Day in Missouri. A similar bill creating a “Limbaugh Day,” House Bill 1200, sponsored by Poplar Bluff GOP representative Hardy Billington (R-152), is also in committee.
Wallingford offered a eulogy on the Missouri House floor after Limbaugh’s death in February at age 70 following a long battle with lung cancer. In the Missourian article, Wallingford alluded to the pushback from leftists.
“I’ve lost many friends in Vietnam and surely we want to honor veterans, but we name highways after all sorts of people,” said Wallingford, a military veteran.
“(Limbaugh) had a litany of accomplishments and we all have flaws. If you only looked at people’s flaws, you’d never honor anyone, frankly,” Wallingford said.
Rehder also defended the effort to honor Limbaugh, who was routinely falsely accused of hate mongering and other offenses by the left-wing media and activists, on Facebook.
“I do realize that all Missourians do not agree with me that Rush’s legacy should be recognized,” Rehder wrote. “I also realize that all humans are flawed so anyone that we may pick to commemorate in this way would have people who disagree.
“Rush gave voice to the conservative movement,” Rehder wrote. “I didn’t always agree with what he said or how he said it. But that can be said of anyone.”
“I believe we can all agree, on both sides of the aisle, that Rush changed the game when it came to talk radio and political commentary,” Rehder wrote. “Nationally and forever. He did that. And that’s a big deal.”
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported on the push back against the bills:
The legislation has ignited controversy given Limbaugh’s decades of divisive rhetoric.
In response to the House legislation, scores of opponents submitted written testimony urging lawmakers to reject the proposal.
Dave Gutekunst, an assistant professor at St. Louis University, said Limbaugh brought shame on himself and the state.
Gutekunst, who describes himself as a humanist on his Twitter account, responded to the Dispatch story.
Thanks for sharing! Also, the @stltoday reporter left out the second half of my statement:
"While we feel sympathy for the family and friends who cared for Mr. Limbaugh, we cannot honor the shame and dishonor he brought on himself and the state of Missouri. Reject this bill." https://t.co/GiOOPUOgwM
— Dave Gutekunst, PhD (@DJGutekunst_PhD) April 14, 2021
Former President Donald Trump presented Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year.
The Missourian noted Limbaugh already is honored in two places in the state.
“The face of the radio commentator, a 1969 graduate of Cape Girardeau Central High School, graces the Missouri Wall of Fame along Water Street at the Cape Girardeau riverfront,” the media outlet reported. “In 2012, Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians in Jefferson City.”