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Kitzhaber issues veto notice on mascot bill


Absent is a veto notice on PCC property east of Scappoose airport

by: FILE PHOTO - Scappoose School District superintendent Stephen Jupe said if the Scappoose High School mascot is reviewed under the provisions of the SB 215, tribes may find the feathered warbonnet atop the Scappoose Indians head to be historically inaccurate to Native American tribes with ancestral ties to the Scappoose area. In a notice of potential vetoes issued Wednesday morning, Gov. John Kitzhaber announced he plans to veto a bill passed in the recent legislative session that would allow school districts, such as Scappoose, to keep Native American mascots.

Senate Bill 215 would allow for schools with Native American mascots, such as the Scappoose Indians, to enter into agreements with federally recognized Native American tribes in order to keep their mascots.

In an earlier interview with the Spotlight, Justin Martin, a tribal member and lobbyist for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, said under the provisions of the new bill tribes would work with school districts to tweak Native American mascot designs to make them more accurately portray the tribes tied to the areas in question.

The bill passed 41-19 in the House of Representatives and 25-5 in the Senate. Although both votes have presumably veto-proof margins, Kitzhaber said he plans to veto the bill for having terms that are too general. Historically, as well, the Legislature has been hesitant to override governor vetoes.

The bill passed in response to the Oregon Board of Education’s decision last year to completely ban the use of Native American mascots in the state’s schools by 2017. Under the board’s decision, schools that did not comply would risk losing all or part of state funding to the school district.

Kitzhaber also plans to issue vetoes on House Bills 2322 and 5008, both relating to the state financial administration. Earlier in the year, Kitzhaber also issued a line-item veto of section eight of Senate Bill 547, which would have regulated taxation or exemption under an emergency clause, which Kitzhaber found unconstitutional. In total, Kitzhaber has issued four veto notices this year.

Kitzahaber is under no obligation to veto the bills outlined within the notice, but is required to provide notice of bills he plans to veto five days in advance. He has until Aug. 19 to sign or veto the remaining bills.

Absent is a veto notice from Kitzhaber regarding House Bill 2898, which he criticized following its passage as an attempt to sidestep state land-use law. The amendment, advanced by Sen. Betsy Johnson of Scappoose, would allow Portland Community College to use 300 acres of agricultural land east of the airport for a police training center.