Doyle, Shilling discuss bullying bills in La Crosse

State leaders attend La Crosse County Bullying Prevention taskforce meeting

State Representative Steve Doyle and State Senator Jennifer Shilling attended the La Crosse County Bullying Prevention Taskforce meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss four Wisconsin bills that either directly or indirectly deal with bullying.

The four bills that were discussed were introduced into the legislature this past session, but were not passed. Doyle and Shilling think they’ll be reintroduced in January 2015, when lawmakers are back in session.

Here are the bills and part of the discussion during the Taskforce meeting:

Assembly Bill: 123: Failure to Report Bullying in Public Schools

Introduced by Representatives Bies, Berceau, Bernier and Brooks; cosponsored by Senator Carpenter

“This bill provides that if a school district’s policy requires that school district officials and employees report incidents of bullying, and a school district official or employee fails to report an incident of bullying within the period required, the official or employee is subject to a forfeiture of $200 for each violation.”Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau

The bill was not scheduled for public hearing and did not become law.

“Penalties and fines are sometimes appropriate, but how do you enforce it?” Sen. Shilling asked while talking about the legislation with the Bullying Prevention Taskforce. Shilling pointed out that school districts in our area take bullying seriously and continue to educate staff and students and raise awareness of bullying incidents.

Senate Bill 184: School bullying, unlawful use of computer systems and providing a penalty

Introduced by Senators T. Cullen, Risser, L. Taylor, Lassa, Erpenbach, Lehman, Kedzie and Carpenter; cosponsored by Representatives Kahl, Berceau, Pope, Schraa, Bies, Hesselbein, Bewley, C. Taylor and Ohnstad

“This bill requires that the definition of bullying in DPI’s model policy include bullying by electronic means. The bill also requires that the model policy include a requirement that a school district official who has reasonable cause to suspect that a bullying incident is a violation of a criminal law report the incident to a law enforcement agency. Finally, the bill requires the model policy to include appropriate responses to bullying that occurs off school grounds in certain circumstances.”Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau

The bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Education (9-0) in October 2013 but was not scheduled for a full Senate vote.

“Bullying isn’t just in-person, pushing people around on the playground,” Rep. Doyle said. Bullying happens via electronic devices and not just on school grounds. When there is a change in technology, it provokes a change in the law, Doyle said.

Assembly Bill 245: Healthy Workplace Bill

Introduced by Representatives Pope, Hesselbein, Sargent, Hebl, Berceau, Barnes, Ohnstad, C. Taylor and Wright; cosponsored by Senator L. Taylor

This bill provides an exception to that exclusive remedy provision that permits an employee who alleges that he or she has been injured by being subjected to an abusive work environment or by being subjected to retaliation or a threat of retaliation for opposing an abusive work environment or for initiating or in any manner participating in an investigation, action, or proceeding to enforce the right not to be subjected to an abusive work environment (collectively “unlawful employment practice”) to bring an action in circuit court against the employer or employee who allegedly engaged in the unlawful employment practice for such relief as the court may consider appropriate. Such an action must be commenced by the employee (aggrieved employee) within one year after the last act constituting the unlawful employment practice occurred or be barred.”  Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau

The bill was not scheduled for public hearing and did not become law.

Assembly Bill 919: Teen dating violence education

Introduced by Representatives Sargent, C. Taylor and Ohnstad; cosponsored by Senators Harris and Lassa

“This bill requires schools to provide teen dating violence prevention education and establishes certain criteria governing the instruction provided. The bill requires the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to incorporate teen dating violence and sexual violence curriculum into its model health curriculum.”Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau

The bill was not scheduled for public hearing and did not become law.

“My hope will be our education committees will look at these as maybe kind of a package type of a deal, where just like we did with the heroin bills we looked at them as a collection of bills that all dealt with different components and if we put these into a package, that’s the best way to present them,” Rep. Doyle said.