After a year of being shelved, the Minnesota anti-bullying bill has made progress, despite the opposition's efforts to eliminate it. This year, after the bill was reintroduced into the Senate it seems as if the opponents have lost steam.
"After more than two hours of parliamentary kickboxing by outfoxed GOPers and DFLers waffling on how much of a hearing to allow, testifiers told emotional, personal stories of being taunted, beaten and harassed. So much so that at first blush, it wasn’t entirely clear that the opponents weren’t in fact making a case for the urgent need for the bill.
The opposition this year is even less mainstream. The Minnesota Family Council placed robo-calls and e-mailed supporters in an effort to pack the Capitol. But the loudest voices this year are those of the Minnesota Child Protection League, an offshoot of Education Liberty Watch.
In turn, Education Liberty Watch is the group that three years ago worked to scuttle an early-childhood-education bill that had broad bipartisan support, arguing among other things that it would create a literal nanny state. Its small but vocal adherents helped to give U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann her political start. Republican Bachmann fought anti-bullying measures during her time in the state House of Representatives.
In the end, the evening session was taken up not by more citizen testimony but by the offering and rejection of all but one of 12 GOP amendments. The bill now moves to the Senate Education Finance Committee.
Its eventual passage onto the Senate floor and then back to the House is expected. But then again, it was expected last year.
Also remaining to be seen: Whether opponents can muster a better offensive than the one on display Tuesday."
Minnesota is not the only state who is alone in pushing through an anti-bullying law. After the suicide death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, New Jersey has the toughest anti-bullying law in the country. But is now being challenged by Minnesota lawmakers who want to have the strongest anti-bullying policies in the nation. States such as Maine, New York, California, among others have established anti-bullying laws as well.