A measure that would strengthen Minnesota's bullying law passed the House Education Policy Committee Thursday night.
Students and parents testified before the panel, sharing stories how they've been affected by bullying. Experts also told lawmakers that minority, disabled and gay students were frequently targeted by bullies.
Some lawmakers expressed concern that the bill, which requires schools to put stronger anti-bullying policies in place and track and investigate cases of harassment, would burden districts with administrative duties.
But DFL Rep. Mary Sawatzky said the law was needed.
"Something's broken," she said. "And when something's broken you come to the Legislature and you get a lock made. People are still going to break the law but you know what — now we have something to do about it."
Minnesota's current bullying law is considered one of the weakest in the nation and doesn't offer school districts guidance on how to prevent bullying.