Kitzhaber Threatens Veto Of Native-American Mascot Bill

Aug 7, 2013

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

Fifteen Oregon school districts, including Molalla, use Native American themed mascots.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

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.

Copyright 2013 Northwest News Network

On the Web:

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