Wis. Senate approves school mascots bill

CREATED Nov 6, 2013

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Republican bill that would make it harder to force public schools to drop American Indian nicknames has cleared the Wisconsin Legislature.

The state Senate approved the bill 17-16 Tuesday. The Assembly approved the proposal last month. It goes next to Republican Gov. Scott Walker

Under current state law the Department of Public Instruction must hold a hearing on a school's race-based nickname if the agency receives a single complaint. The school must prove the nickname doesn't promote discrimination at a hearing. DPI then decides whether the name must go.

The bill would require a complainant to collect signatures equal to 10 percent of the school district's population to trigger a review. The complainant would have to prove discrimination to the Department of Administration rather than DPI.