Walker tells tribes he'll sign mascot bill - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Walker signs school mascot bill

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill making it harder to force public schools to drop American Indian nicknames.

The Republican bill changes a 2010 state law that required Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction to hold a hearing on a school's race-based nickname if it received even one complaint.

The new bill requires people with a complaint to submit a petition with signatures equal to 10 percent of the school district's student population to trigger a review. They must prove the nickname is discriminatory at a hearing. The Department of Administration, which is under the governor's control, decides whether to drop the name.

The law will go into effect Saturday.

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MADISON (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker is telling Wisconsin's American Indian tribes he will sign a bill that will make it harder to force public schools to drop Indian nicknames.

Walker sent a letter to tribal leaders Thursday morning telling them he will sign the measure. He says he shares concerns about tribal mascots and nicknames in Wisconsin and across the country but is worried current state law infringes on free speech. He says a person's right to speak doesn't end just because what they say is offensive.

He says the best route is to educate people about how some phrases and symbols are offensive when used as nicknames and mascots.

Walker's deadline to sign or veto the bill is Thursday. If he were to take no action, the bill would become law.

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