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Wisconsin bill would stunt suits over schools' American Indian mascots

Oct. 3, 2013 at 3:57 PM

MADISON, Wis., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Wisconsin legislators are considering a bill supporters say would protect school districts from being forced to change American Indian mascots or team names.

A public hearing on the bill is scheduled as one school district in Mukwonago risks daily fines by defying an order from the state Department of Public Instruction to change its team name, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Thursday.

The bill would shift to people filing complaints the burden to show school mascots and their nicknames promote discrimination. Supporters say the proposal would end the current law, which considers the schools "guilty until proven innocent."

The current law -- enacted in 2010 when Democrats controlled the legislature -- allows a single person to file a complaint. The Republican-sponsored bill would require the number of complainants to equal 10 percent of the number of students in the district.

Schools would also be exempt from a complaint if they had an agreement with a tribe historically linked to Wisconsin that allowed them to use the tribe's name or logo.

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