Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed an Indian mascot bill on Thursday that will make it harder for politically correct meddlers to force public schools around the state to change their mascots, logos and team names.
Before he signed the bill, Walker informed state tribal leaders in a letter.
“I share many of your concerns about some of the mascots and nicknames used in Wisconsin and across America,” the governor wrote, according to The Capital Times. “If it were up to me personally, I would seek viable alternatives that were not offensive to Native Americans.”
In the same letter, Walker also pointed out that a previous law allowing a single complainer to instigate a review process and then a name change flouted the First Amendment rights of everybody else.
“If the state bans speech that is offensive to some, where does it stop?” he said. “A person or persons’ right to speak does not end just because what they say or how they say it is offensive.”
Wisconsin Indian Education Association spokeswoman Barbara Munson described the new law as “institutionalized racism.”
“This is a poke in the eye with a sharp stick to all of the tribes and all of our children,” she told The Cap Times on Thursday.
“Attorneys are discussing this as we speak,” she added sternly.
Chris Ahmuty, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, chimed in defending free speech calling for chilling limitations on free speech. Ahmuty called Walker’s free-speech argument “bogus.” Amazingly and hilariously, he also suggested that the First Amendment does not extend to Wisconsin schools and communities.
The new law, colloquially called AB 297, replaces another law colloquially called Act 250. The old law took effect in 2010 after it was signed by Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat.
Act 250 forced school districts to prove that their mascots were not offensive after a single individual filed a complaint. The new law requires offended people who claim offense to start a petition and obtain signatures from 10 percent of the adult population within a school district.
“No longer will the mere existence of an Indian logo, mascot or team name automatically be construed as a violation of state law,” said the lead legislative sponsor of the bill, Republican Steve Nass.
Offended individuals had complained against the mascots and logos of four Wisconsin school districts under Act 250. Three of those school districts capitulated voluntarily. The Mukwonago Area School District — home of the Mukwonago Braves — chose to fight.
“We’re pleased that Wisconsin’s elected officials have heard the overwhelming majority of residents loud and clear on this issue,” said Mukwonago School District attorney Sam Hall in a statement obtained by the Wisconsin Daily Independent. “Wisconsin now has a law that eliminates the kangaroo court that school districts and their residents have been subjected to since the Doyle administration.”
A list compiled by the American Indian Cultural Support organization entitled “Schools Using Native American Racial Mascots in WISCONSIN” shows that over 40 schools in the state use names that somebody, somewhere finds grossly offensive. These names include Indians, Warriors, Red Raiders, Blackhawks, Apaches, Warhawks and Chiefs.