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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

DPI issues emergency rule about mascot law

Legislation


A Wisconsin law that establishes a new procedure for challenging a school board’s use of a race-based nickname, logo, mascot, or team name went into effect May 20, 2010. I voted against the mascot legislation.

The state Superintendent of Public Instruction is required to promulgate rules necessary to implement and administer the law.  June 1, 2010, the office of the state Superintendent of Public Instruction published an emergency rule pertaining to the new law. Here are excerpts from the department’s analysis:

“Plain language analysis:

2009 Wisconsin Act 250 allows a school district resident to object to the use of a race-based nickname, logo, mascot, or team name by the school board of that school district by filing a complaint with the state superintendent. If a complaint objects to the use of a nickname or team name by a school board, the state superintendent must immediately review the complaint and determine whether the use of the nickname or team name by the school board, alone or in connection with a logo or mascot, is ambiguous as to whether it is race-based.

 

If the state superintendent determines that the use of the nickname, logo, mascot or team name is unambiguously race-based, the school board has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the use of the race-based nickname, logo, mascot or team name does not promote discrimination, pupil harassment, or stereotyping as defined by the state superintendent by rule.

 

If the state superintendent determines that the use of the nickname or team name by a school board is ambiguous as to whether it is race-based but that the use of the nickname or team name in connection with a logo or mascot is race-based, at the hearing the school board has the burden of providing by clear and convincing evidence that the use of the nickname or team name in connection with the logo or mascot does not promote discrimination, pupil harassment, or stereotyping, as defined by the state superintendent by rule.

 

If the state superintendent determines that the use of the nickname or team name by a school board is ambiguous as to whether it is race-based, the use of the nickname or team name by the school board is presumed to be not race-based and at the hearing the school district resident who filed the complaint has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the use of the nickname or team name promotes discrimination, pupil harassment, or stereotyping, as defined by the state superintendent by rule.

 

If the school board receives approval from a specific, federally recognized American Indian tribe to use the nickname, logo, mascot or team name, the state superintendent may determine that no contested case hearing is necessary or that a hearing date may be postponed for the purpose of obtaining additional information.

 

Under the Act, the state superintendent is required to promulgate rules to define whether the use of the nickname, logo, mascot, or team name promotes discrimination, pupil harassment, or stereotyping and other rules necessary to implement and administer this provision.

 

The rules specify that the use of any of the following nicknames or team names are unambiguously race-based and presumed to promote discrimination, pupil harassment or stereotyping unless the school district produces clear and convincing evidence refuting this presumption.

 

·         A nickname or team name is unambiguously race-based if it includes any of the following terms: 1. the full or partial name of any specific, federally recognized American Indian tribe, 2. Indians, 3. Braves, or 4. Redmen.

 

·         A nickname or team name is unambiguously race-based if it includes any of the terms arrows, blackhawks, chiefs, chieftains, hatchets, raiders, red raiders, warriors, or warhawks and is used in connection with any of the following logos or mascots: 1. A depiction of an American Indian person or persons, 2. Feathers or feather headdress, 3. Arrows, bows, spears, tomahawks, stone hatchets, or other historical or traditional American Indian weapons or tools, or 4. Historical or traditional American Indian drums, pipes, beadwork, clothing or footwear.

 

The rules establish procedural timelines as to when and what information must be submitted to the state superintendent by a school board and when a contested case hearing may or may not be scheduled.

 

Rules must be submitted to legislative council staff no later than November 1, 2010. The department intends to promulgate these rules as emergency rules.

 

Comparison with rules in adjacent states:

Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota do not have administrative rules relating to Indian nicknames, logos, mascots, and team names.

Analysis and supporting documents used to determine effect on small business or in preparation of economic impact report:  N/A.

Anticipated costs incurred by private sector:  N/A.

Effect on small business:

The proposed rules will have no significant economic impact on small businesses, as defined in s. 227.114 (1) (a), Stats.

Agency contact person: (including email and telephone)

Carolyn Stanford Taylor, Division Administrator, Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy, carolyn.stanfordtaylor@dpi.wi.gov, or (608) 266-1649. 

Place where comments are to be submitted and deadline for submission:

The department will be publishing a hearing notice in the Administrative Register (Link to: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/code.htm) which will include this information.”
 

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