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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

 1:53 PM 

Senate passes race-based mascots bill

The state Senate has passed a bill that would create a process for considering complaints over race-based mascots in Wisconsin schools.

The bill passed 17-16, with Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, joining Senate Republicans in voting against the bill. Democrats turned away four amendments to the bill, including measures to restrict the complaints to local school district residents and to limit the mascots under the bill to Native American-based logos.

Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, said the latter amendment reflected his concern over one of his district's schools to remain the Oostburg Flying Dutchmen. Sen. Spencer Coggs, D-Milwaukee, responded that while the state has a long history of discrimination against Native Americans, "there is not against the Dutch."

Sen. Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, noted that the state Department of Public Instruction -- which would be the final arbiter of complaints -- had already testified against the race-based mascots in committee hearings.

"The final say has been made," Hopper said. "This sets up a predetermined system."

Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, said that while the measure has been under consideration in the Legislature for 16 years, "it is a topic that Native Americans have lived with all their lives."

"Stand in the shoes of those who are offended, and those who are stereotyped and mislabeled," Jauch said.


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