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Gov. won't indicate position on mascot bill

Published On: Dec 17 2013 06:16:12 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Gov. Scott Walker said he still hasn't decided what to do with a bill making it more difficult to remove Native American mascots from state public schools.

In a year-end interview with News 3, Walker said he won't let the bill automatically become law without action, but he hasn't yet decided whether to sign it.

Walker said he has met and discussed the issue with tribal leaders.

"I have great empathy and concern about the issues that they've raised and if it were up to me personally I'd find a way to adjust as many of these mascots and nicknames as possible to make them not be viewed as being insensitive to many of these tribal members," said Walker. "By the same token, part of the difficulty of looking at this issue -- something I didn't ask for -- is looking at the flip side of that which is a free speech issue."

Walker must take action on the bill before Thursday.

The bill requires those who object to a school's mascot to circulate a petition and get 10 percent of the district's population to sign it in order to trigger a review. Current law requires a review based on a single complaint.

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