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State Senate takes up stricter Indian nickname bill

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Senate will consider a bill Tuesday which makes it harder to force public schools to stop using Indian team names and mascots. 

The Assembly passed the measure last month 52-41. 

It requires Indians to prove they've been hurt by school mascots, instead of school boards having to prove that the monikers don't discriminate.  Complaints would only be considered if petitions are filed with signatures equal to 10 percent of a school's enrollment. 

Also, the Administration Department would hear the complaints instead of the state Department of Public Instruction. 

The bill would nullify much of the 2009 law passed by Democrats, which created a system in which Indian logos that discriminate have to be dropped -- or else schools could face daily fines. The GOP bill would nullify the orders made to schools under the '09 law. 

Supporters say the previous law does not give schools much of a chance to defend themselves. 

The bill's opponents say it would take Wisconsin a step backward in race relations.