April 28, 2010 | by Chris Johnson
Franken to introduce student non-discrimination bill

U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is poised to introduce legislation in the Senate that would bar discrimination against LGBT students in schools throughout the country, according to his office.

“We are hopeful that we can introduce our companion anti-bullying legislation soon,” Jess McIntosh, a Franken spokesperson, told DC Agenda Wednesday.

In the House, the legislation is known as the Student Non-Discrimination Act. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), a gay lawmaker, introduced the measure in January. Upon the bill’s introduction, Polis said the legislation would give schools across the country tools to fight “everything from exclusion from prom, to banning clubs, to lack of actions addressing bullying situations.”

McIntosh said she couldn’t give a time for when Franken would introduce the legislation, nor confirm whether the language would be identical to the House bill.

Daryl Presgraves, spokesperson for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which has been advocating for the bill, praised Franken for championing the effort in the Senate.

“Obviously, we’re very grateful to Sen. Franken for realizing that the Student Non-Discrimination Act is an important piece of legislation that will help make schools safer for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” Presgraves said.

Pregraves said it’s “hard to say” the timeline for when Congress would consider the Student Non-Discrimination Act, but said one possible vehicle for passage could be upcoming education budget legislation known as the Elementary & Secondary Education Act authorization bill.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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