Interesting that it took the Democrats so long to get this passed. The Assembly approved it in February, but it was getting a lot of press coverage a year ago, and according to one of the Senate supporters, it has been under consideration for 16 years! Wispolitics:
The bill passed 17-16, with Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, joining Senate Republicans in voting against the bill. Democrats turned away four amendments to the bill, including measures to restrict the complaints to local school district residents and to limit the mascots under the bill to Native American-based logos.
Surprising vote from Carpenter. If I'd had to guess on a Democrat dissenting, it would have been Sullivan or Vinehout, both of whom are up for re-election and represent conservative districts. This may have been a case, like with drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, in which Carpenter legitimately disagreed with his party.
It would be interesting to see how many schools with Indian mascots are in his district. Frankly, this is a very real political issue in state politics. There is a very clear result that quite a few people will feel strongly about. Not only are guys like Carpenter avoiding the association with politically correct, paternalistic liberals, but they're avoiding the very real chance that a beloved mascot in their district will get banned and piss people off some of whom might not vote or pay attention otherwise. High school sports are often a big source of local pride in small towns. It's not unusual to meet people in their 60's who care more about the high school football team than the kids themselves.
Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, said the latter amendment reflected his concern over one of his district's schools to remain the Oostburg Flying Dutchmen. Sen. Spencer Coggs, D-Milwaukee, responded that while the state has a long history of discrimination against Native Americans, "there is not against the Dutch."
Wow, I'm surprised Grothman limited his objections to a reasonable criticism. Hopefully there will be a press release tomorrow correcting the apparent delve into moderation.
Keep in mind, the legislation does not immediately ban all race-based mascots. What it does is allow individuals to file complaints, and if a court agrees that the mascot is race-based, then the school will be fined for every day that it does not change the mascot.