Michigan House GOPers Back Away From Loophole In Anti-Bullying Bill

The Michigan Senate passed an anti-bullying bill last week that includes a “moral convictions” loophole, but the Republican Speaker of the House says the final legislation will probably not go that far.Ari Adler, spokesperson for Michigan Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R), told the Michigan Messenger that “the bill as passed by the Senate, is not what the final law will look like.”

SB 137, which was passed on a party-line vote in the state Senate last week, included language that specifies that it would not prohibit First Amendment rights, and “does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil’s parent or guardian.”

Democrats say Republicans “gutted” the bill, and have also been pushing for specific language to prohibit bullying based on race, gender, sexual preference, etc.

Though on Friday, Bolger was mum about his personal stance on the bill, on Saturday Adler tweeted for Bolger: “Bullying is wrong and the reason for bullying should not make it worse nor excused.”

Adler says that after they reviewed the bill’s language, Bolger said he opposed the religious exemption clause, and that other House Republicans had concerns about it “as soon as they heard the first news reports with details.”

According to the Grand Rapids Press , Adler says House Republicans are trying to come up with a “consensus” bill this week that wouldn’t single out specific groups like the Dems are pushing for, but would also eliminate the controversial religious loophole.

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