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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri lawmakers are considering setting aside a day each January to honor the late Rush Limbaugh, a proposal that has ignited controversy.

The Cape Girardeau native gained national fame before he died in February at age 70 after a battle with cancer.

A Missouri Senate committee debated legislation Tuesday to designate Jan. 12, Limbaugh’s birthday, as “Rush Limbaugh Day.” A similar proposal is pending in the House, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Scores of people submitted testimony on the bill.

“Rush was an icon of the American dream and American conservatism,” said Republican U.S. Rep. Jason Smith of Salem. “His life exemplified the reward of hard work that he so firmly believed was within the grasp of every American.”

Dave Gutekunst, an assistant professor at St. Louis University, said Limbaugh brought shame on himself and the state.

“Throughout his long career, Rush Limbaugh drove people apart with his racism, misogyny, and shocking disregard for truth or decency,” Gutekunst said in written testimony.

The bill awaits a vote in the Senate General Laws Committee.