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Michigan Senate could vote on anti-bullying bill Today

The Michigan Senate may take up a non-enumerated anti-bullying bill Tuesday morning in its regular session.

A version of the bill was voted down last week when Democrats attempted to attach it as an amendment to a bill to remove the cap on the number of charter schools in the state. Republicans also rejected a fully enumerated amendment.

At the heart of the argument is a belief by Democrats and most advocates that an enumerated bill — which specifically lists protected classes — would be more effective in addressing bullying. However, Republicans and their allies, including Gary Glenn at the American Family Association of Michigan, argue enumeration does not protect every student and that it is also part of the “homosexual agenda.”

The hoopla over last week’s votes was followed by Republican senators allegedly laughing while explaining their no votes, Sen. John Gleason (D-Flushing) told the Messenger last week. That behavior, he said, led to him staging a one-man sit-in at the Capitol on Thursday night. On Friday, plans to have citizens join him were derailed by Capitol officials who threatened arrest for anyone who remained in the building after 5:30 p.m. Both Gleason and Westland Democratic Sen. Glenn Anderson were both told they could not stay in the Capitol either since they did not have offices in the building. They were also told if they stayed at least one senate Sergeant-at-Arms would be required to stay, costing the state overtime during a significant budget shortage.

Gleason stayed in his office at the Farnum building Friday night.

The battle to create comprehensive anti-bullying laws — which are preventative in design — has been going on for 13 years. Michigan is one of only three states in the U.S. without a law to address bullying in the schools.

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