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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

 5:48 PM 

Final vote on race-based mascot bill blocked

The Assembly didn't take a vote on a bill that would formalize a process for seeking the removal of a race-based mascot in a school district, with Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, objecting to the third reading of the bill.

The legislation sets up a hearing process where the state DPI superintendent would rule on complaints, and the local school board would have the burden of proving that the use of the nickname, logo or mascot does not promote discrimination, pupil harassment or stereotyping.

If the DPI superintendent finds in favor of the complainant, the school board must terminate the use of the mascot within one year or face a forfeiture of between $100 and $1,000 each day the the mascot is used.

The superintendents ruling could be appealed to circuit court.

The Assembly did adopt a handful of amendments to the bill today, including one to prohibit non-resident students from filing an objection to a mascot. Under another amendment adopted by the Assembly, if a nickname or mascot is that of a federally recognized Indian tribe, the district could demonstrate that the tribe supports the use of the name or likeness and avoid a hearing.

A third amendment would allow for the DPI superintendent to rule that the use of the mascot is "ambiguous" as to whether it is race-based.

The bill will come to the floor again Thursday.


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