Lawmakers consider reversing ban on Native American mascots

Lawmakers consider reversing ban on Native American mascots »Play Video
File - In this Feb. 3, 2012 file photo, shows students work out in the Roseburg High School gym in Roseburg, Ore., where the school's mascot is the Indians, and their logo is a feather. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Bruce Ely, File)

SALEM, Ore. – Some lawmakers say the Oregon Board of Education went too far when it banned Native American school mascots.

The board banned the mascots last year and said if schools don't follow through in the next three years, they could lose out on state money.

Some lawmakers want to not only stop that ban they also want to prevent the board from doing that ever again.

Senate Bill 215 would change the law to say the Oregon Board of Education cannot adopt rules about school mascots and cannot impose sanctions on what schools do with mascots.

Some people who support that ban and are against the bill say studies show Native American mascots hurt kids by promoting stereotypes and affecting self-esteem.

Some people who want the bill say the state Board of Education should not be the one to decide if schools have Native American mascots.

"We just feel that we didn't really get the right to step up and say, whose call really is this? Is it tribal governments' call or is it Education's call. We feel we didn't get the right amount of input into it," said Reyn Leno, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

"So while I respect the opinion of every tribal government, overwhelmingly in the United States tribes as governing bodies support the ban of Indian mascots," said Se-ah-dom Edmo of the Oregon Indian Education Association.

Another question is whether this issue is an emergency. The bill says it is and if it passes, it would declare an emergency and make the law effective immediately – basically killing the ban on the spot.

Other Oregon Legislative Action Thursday

The Senate passed a bill aimed at boosting awareness and early detection of breast cancer.

The bill would require doctors to notify patients of dense breast tissue indicated by a mammogram. The notification would also include information about the risks associated with dense breast tissue and alternative screening options, such as ultrasound, that may do a better job of detecting breast cancer.

Supporters say increasing early detection would improve survival rates and ultimately save lives.

If the bill becomes law, Oregon would be among the first set of states to enact such notification.

In 2009, Connecticut passed the first law requiring notification of dense breast tissue. Texas, Virginia, New York and California have also passed similar laws.

Oregon's bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Another bill would allow red light cameras to catch more than drivers who don't stop for a light.

Beaverton police Chief Geoff Spalding says the images can be helpful in prosecuting hit-and-runs, DUIIs and auto theft.

He says it is not the intent of the law to catch people on cellphones or driving without seat belts. Right now, you can only be cited for running a red light or failure to obey a traffic signal.