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Indian mascot bill advances

Indian school mascot
Indian school mascot

MADISON (WRN)   A bill that substantially changes state law on Native American mascots and logos is moving to a vote in the state Assembly. State Representative Steve Nass wants to rework the current law, which can force school districts to drop their race-based – meaning Native American – logos and mascots.

“The process that is on the books right now is not fair,” Nass said (R-Whitewater). “One person can file a complaint, it goes to the Department of Public Instruction and that school district . . . will have to remove their name. You cannot win under the current process.”

The bill from Nass would require complainants to get signatures equal to ten percent of a school district’s enrollment. Representative Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) said that’s an unreasonable challenge. “That is no process, not due process,” he said.

Nass would also require that individuals wishing to file a complaint would have to prove that the logo or nickname is discriminatory. “They will have to show why they are discriminated against, why they think that name is not appropriate,” he said following a committee vote on the bill Wednesday. “Right now the person filing a complaint does not have to do that. They file a complaint and they can go home and put their feet up, and have to do nothing more. The bureaucrats will take over.”

An Assembly committee approved the measure on a partisan 7-4 votes Wednesday, and the full Assembly is expected to vote next week. A companion bill in the Senate was the subject of a public hearing on Wednesday. The current law was enacted in 2010 after getting bipartisan support.