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Bullying bill clears Minnesota Senate committee

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Revised legislation that protects students against bullies has the support of a key Senate committee in Minnesota.

The anti-bullying bill packed a Senate Education Committee Tuesday during a five-hour hearing. The bill eventually passed the committee and is headed to the Senate Finance Committee.

Co-author DFL Sen. Scott Dibble reworked the legislation to address concerns of school administrators and key education groups concerned about its fiscal impact and teachers' ability to handle bullying incidents on their own. Dibble tightened the definition of bullying to a pattern of ''intimidating, threatening, abusive or harming conduct'' and cut out expensive mandates.

Opponents say the bill is too narrowly focused on factors of race, religion and sexual orientation and doesn't broadly protect all students. Dibble says it's necessary to list certain groups susceptible to bullying.

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