Will Oregon Gov. Veto Bill Protecting Native Mascots for High Schools?
Despite Governor John Kitzhaber threatening to veto the bill should it be sent to his desk, the Oregon legislature has done just that with SB 215. The bill, which would allow some Oregon schools to keep American Indian mascots, nicknames and logos, easily cleared the state Senate today, 25-5, according to the Associated Press. It's now the governor's turn to act.
The bill, which also easily passed the House, would reverse a 2012 decision by the Oregon Board of Education to outlaw Native American mascots beginning in 2017. Schools would be able to keep them if they reach a written agreement with the nearest Indian tribe, if the measure is signed into law. That seems unlikely, given the governor's recent statements.
Kitzhaber issued his veto threat in a letter to legislative leaders, in which he also stated that he'd support a more narrowly defined exemption, similar to the NCAA's, which has allowed the Utah Utes and the Florida State Seminoles keep their Native mascots.