MADISON (WKOW) -- The State Senate was expected to pass a bill making it more difficult to force school's to change race-based nicknames, mascots and logos on Tuesday night. Then they delayed debate until Wednesday morning and now won't take any action on the measure until November 5th.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) released a statement Wednesday morning, just before the Senate had been rescheduled to convene to debate the bill.
"Senate Republicans still ardently support the proposal, and have the votes necessary to send the bill to the Governor's desk. Due to procedural rules and the State Assembly's passage of the bill yesterday, the Senate will be bringing Assembly Bill 297 to the floor for a vote on November 5th, the first day of the November floor session," said Sen. Fitzgerald's statement.
Under current law, one person can file an objection to a race-based nickname, mascot or logo and the Department of Public Instruction will hold a hearing, evaluate both sides, and decide whether it stays or goes.
This bill would change that by requiring a person to collect signatures from ten percent of the school district's student population and then prove discrimination, not to DPI, but to the Department of Administration.
Rep. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) authored the Assembly version of bill, due to concerns in Mukwonago that their high school would have to change their nickname of the "Indians", after a student filed a complaint with DPI.
That bill passed the Assembly 52-41 on Tuesday evening.
Now, attorneys for Mukwonago High School are blaming Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) for the delay in the Senate.
"Senator Dale Schultz delayed consideration throughout the Senate floor session and ultimately proposed an amendment to gut the proposal being considered by both houses of state government. Due to these procedural maneuvers, the Senate now stands in recess, despite only a single day on the floor this month," wrote attorneys for the law firm Crivello and Carson of Milwaukee.
The attorneys are calling on Sen. Fitzgerald to call a special session to vote on the bill by the end of the week, saying otherwise districts like Mukwonago face fines of up to $1,000 per day.
But Todd Allbaugh, a spokesperson for Sen. Schultz, says no information has been given to his office on what procedural rules would have been violated if the full Senate had voted on the bill and its proposed amendments Wednesday morning.
A spokesperson for Sen. Fitzgerald told 27 News said that decision didn't revolve around the Senate version of the bill, but the Assembly version.
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