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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Kitzhaber Threatens Veto Of Native-American Mascot Bill

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Chris Lehman
/
Northwest News Network

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is signaling his intent to veto a bill that would ease a ban on Native American mascots.

The Democrat issued a formal veto threat Wednesday.

Fifteen Oregon schools use Native American mascots like Warriors, Indians and Braves. Last year, the state Board of Education voted to give those schools until 2017 to get rid of them.

Supporters of a ban, including some tribal groups, say the mascots are demeaning to Native American culture. But Oregon lawmakers voted last month to allow school districts to keep their mascots if the nearest American Indian tribe agrees.

Governor Kitzhaber warned legislative leaders at that time of a possible veto. The governor said their approach goes too far.

Kitzhaber has until August 19 to make up his mind, but the formal veto threat keeps his options open. Lawmakers passed the measure with enough votes to override a veto, but it's rare for lawmakers to do so.

On the Web:

SB 215: School mascots - Oregon Legislature
Gov. John Kitzhaber's letter to lawmakers - Office of the Governor