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Local lawmaker upset over defunding of schools with Native American mascots, nicknames

An area legislator is continuing to speak out against a provision in the budget implementation bill approved by the state Senate yesterday and sent to the House that would withhold money from schools with Native American mascots.  The funding is from the state’s 25% share of slot machine revenues generated at the two casinos owned by the federally recognized tribes.  

Senator Craig Miner, whose district includes Regional School District 6, was angry Democrats did not tell him about the change. The towns making up the district, Warren, Morris and Goshen, are dubbed the “Warriors.”  Miner is the top Senate Republican on the Appropriations Committee.

In addition, Miner is concerned that the towns are now put in the untenable position of having to negotiate with a sovereign group, which has different factions and a dispute amongst themselves over who is the leader.  He's also unsure how broadly recognized the Schaghticoke tribe is by the General Assembly.

The section was amended on Tuesday to give municipalities until June 30, 2023, to make the change.  Given this change, Miner wanted provision removed so a resolution could be discussed next year during a public hearing.

The measure applies to any name, symbol or image that depicts, refers to or is associated with a state or federally recognized Native American tribe or a Native American individual, custom or tradition, as a mascot, nickname or logo of schools, intramural or interscholastic athletic teams.  There is an exception if they receive permission to use it.

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