Bullying bill becomes pre-special session battle

Even before lawmakers begin special session, the agenda is the source of debate.  “The special session was called to respond to emergencies across the state: The bullying epidemic in our schools is, in fact, an emergency,” according to Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) “Several Minnesota parents have linked their children’s suicides to bullying issues in the past year, and countless other youth are dealing with harassment when they walk into their school buildings every single day. Minnesota has a crisis, but we also have the ability to address that crisis by laying a strong policy foundation and saying degradation of any form, for any reason, will not be tolerated in our schools.”

Republicans are not pleased with the effort to add bullying to a session dealing with flood relief.  Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) said “I am extremely disappointed that House and Senate Democrats are trying to satisfy their insatiable appetite to create more government mandates during a special session.  Flood relief is desperately needed in southern Minnesota.  In my district, the floods basically wiped three of my communities, Zumbro Falls, Hammond, and Jarrett, off the map.  Residents can’t live in their homes, and businesses can’t open their doors.  These folks need state assistance immediately.  What they do not need is a bullying bill, or any other bill deemed ‘urgent’ by the legislative majority.”

Now the candidates for governor are getting into the mix.  Republican Tom Emmer is still a member of the Minnesota House who would have to attend special session and vote on bills.  Emmer opposes the anti-bullying bill.  Democrat Mark Dayton released a statement “Bullying in schools based on a young person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity has grown to terrible proportions and the consequences of those actions are severe.  No students should be driven to take their own lives simply because of who they are.  I stand with Senator Al Franken to pass strong, anti-bullying measures here in Minnesota and nationwide.  As Governor, I will fight for and sign a tougher Safe Schools bill.  The time is now to speak out, lead, and act to protect all Minnesota’s youth.”

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 10/14/2010 - 08:32 pm.

    Can somebody explain to me what the rationale is behind the Republicans’ opposition to the anti-bullying bill other than the fact that it is attached to the flood bill?

    What is the matter? Can’t Republicans multi-task or something?

    Could they be persuaded to support anti-bullying as a separate but still urgent bill? Or is it simply an anathema to them? Maybe, they are subconsciously associating it to gun control.

  2. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 10/16/2010 - 06:17 pm.

    Or maybe the anti-bullying bill will be needing financial appropriation for enforcement if it is passed? But just how much could it cost the taxpayer?

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