Franken shifts tactics on LGBT student protection billby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., says he's still pushing for a law protecting gay and lesbian school students from discrimination, even though he recently withdrew the measure in committee.
Franken's bill, called the Student Non-Discrimination Act, would guarantee federal protections for LGBT students the way the Civil Rights Act protects people of color. He wants it added to whatever replaces the No Child Left Behind education law.
But when a Senate committee debated its replacement for No Child last week, Franken withdrew the bill. The Democrat, who sits on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said he probably had the votes there, but was told it could doom the entire bill.
Franken will now try try to add the language on the Senate floor, where he'll need 60 votes.
"We know the seven Republicans that I'd have to pick up are, and I've actually talked to, I think, every one of those seven," Franken said. "I have reason to believe that all of them may end up supporting it."
That floor debate has not yet been scheduled. But even if it passes the Senate, its chances are less certain in the GOP-led House. Minnesota Rep. John Kline, a Republican, chairs the House Education committee and has not included any such discrimination language so far.