Senate postpones vote on Native American mascot billThe Senate will postpone consideration of a bill that would make it harder to challenge a school’s Native American logos or mascots until next month.
By: Gilman Halsted, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The Senate will postpone consideration of a bill that would make it harder to challenge a school’s Native American logos or mascots until next month.
Sen. Dale Schultz (R – Richland Center) plans to introduce an amendment that would leave the final decision to local communities or the courts.
After three hours of emotional debate, the state Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that would require anyone claiming a mascot is offensive to Native Americans to collect signatures equal to 10 percent of the school district's student population before the district even considers a change. It would also leave the final decision to the state Department of Administration.
Scultz says his amendment will level the playing field and encourage communities to hear from all sides before deciding on a change.
“By intensively working at the local level to have these discussions, I think we have a better opportunity, in a more productive fashion, to iron out our differences, to understand each other to a much greater extent than we have in the past,” says Schultz.
Schultz's amendment would require all schools that have Native Americans mascots to take public comment on the need for a change unless they have reached an agreement with the Great Lakes Indian Tribal Council determining that their logo is not offensive. If no agreement is reached, either side can take the issue to state court.
That amendment will be debated in the Senate session scheduled for Nov. 5.
Senate President Scott Fitzgerald (R – Juneau) says the Republican majority is still committed to passing the Assembly's version of the bill.