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State Senate narrowly approves Indian mascot bill

Mukwonago Indians logo
Mukwonago Indians logo

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A bill making it harder to force Wisconsin public schools to drop Indian team names is on its way to Governor Scott Walker. 

The Republican governor has not said whether he'll sign the measure that got final legislative approval from the Senate Tuesday. The vote was 17-16, with Richland Center Republican Dale Schultz joining all Democrats in voting no. 

Democrats said it would institutionalize racism in schools. Milwaukee's Lena Taylor said society still struggles to overcome the "N" word against blacks and, "I wish we were as uncomfortable with savages, redskins, and Indians." 

New Berlin Republican Mary Lazich said the measure has nothing to do with discrimination, and everything to do with creating fairness and balance for public schools. 

The bill largely guts a 2009 Democratic law which set up a system for handling complaints about school Indian mascots. 

Under the bill, schools would no longer have to prove that their Indian monikers don't discriminate, whenever a single person complains that they do. The complainants would have the burden of proof, and they'd need to submit petitions for the state to consider their cases 

Some Democrats raised doubts that they'd be able to get the required signatures. Middleton Democrat Jon Erpenbach said the bill is being pushed by, "glory days guys" who can't let their high school days go.  

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