Minnesota Senate’s anti-bullying bill pulled after GOP planned to extend debate
Megan Boldt, Pioneer Press, May 20, 2013 – A bill that would beef up efforts to combat bullying in schools will not get a final vote in the Minnesota Senate.
The Senate started debate on it late Sunday evening, May 19, but bill sponsor Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said it was pulled early Monday morning after Republicans said they planned 10 hours of debate on the issue.
The deadline for the Legislature to adjourn is Monday, May 20, at midnight.
The proposed legislation would have required school districts to work with students and parents on policies to prevent bullying, investigate all formal complaints of such incidents and keep detailed records of bullying to help improve school safety. It also required ongoing professional development to train teachers in preventing bullying and set aside $1 million for a school climate center run by the Minnesota Education Department to help schools develop anti-bullying policies.
The bill passed the Minnesota House on a 72-57 vote earlier this month.
Supporters have said it would take Minnesota from having one of the weakest anti-bullying laws in the country to one of the strongest.
Opponents argued it was too expensive and overly directive. It would cost local districts roughly $20 million a year, according to a Minnesota Management and Budget analysis.
Dibble said he plans to revive the bill in 2014.
“This failure is only a setback. This bill remains a live bill,” he said in a prepared statement. “We will take it up first thing next February and put every word of it into law.”