Two legislators to introduce anti-bullying bill at special sessionby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Two DFL legislators say they'll use an upcoming special session on flood relief to introduce their anti-bullying bill.
Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Jim Davnie, both of Minneapolis, introduced a similar measure in 2009 to toughen anti-bullying policies in public schools, but Gov. Pawlenty vetoed the bill.
The bill would have prohibited harassment based on a list of a dozen characteristics, including sexual orientation. Dibble said a recent rash of teen suicides linked to bullying makes it an emergency appropriate for the special session.
"This emergency is one of our own creation; we can respond," Dibble said. "We can change this. We can take those affirmative steps so that every kid who goes to school knows that they are valued, that they'll be safe, that they're loved, that they're going to get an equal shot at a good start in life."
Senate Republicans claim the two DFLers are trying to take the focus off flood victims to push their personal agenda with an unrelated bill.
Senate GOP Minority Leader David Senjem of Rochester said the DFL proposal is inappropriate for the special session and could threaten the passage of the disaster relief.
"If we go outside of the bounds of what we've agreed to, then frankly all things are on the table, be it photo ID or any other kind of initiative or agenda, any other member might have," Senjem said.