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Wadena rep says Forum News Service story misrepresented anti-bullying speech

Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Lake Shore, said Wednesday that a Forum News Service story misrepresented a statement he made during a lengthy House debate Tuesday on an anti-bullying bill.

The article, posted to websites throughout Forum Communications network - including the Pioneer Journal - didn't contain a direct quotation from Anderson, who represents Wadena in the lower legislative chamber. But it paraphrased him as saying there is not a bullying problem in rural Minnesota.

Since the article was posted, Anderson said, he's gotten emails from constituents who objected to that remark. 

One statement in his more than five minute speech was taken out of context, Anderson said. "I was trying to sum up the whole thing." 

All the anti-bullying bill does, he said, is "adds classifications to a list of protected people," and nobody can point to any evidence that it will be effective. 

"The protected groups that they are trying to cover seem to be more of a metro thing than a rural thing," Anderson added. "I don't think we have an UpFront (sic) chapter in my district." He was referring to OutFront Minnesota, an organizing that advocates for LGBT rights and aggressively lobbied for the legislation.

Asked whether he was implying that there aren't LGBT people in his district, he said that's not what he meant.

Anderson said everybody has been bullied at some point, including himself, but the anti-bullying policies each school district has already adopted should be fully enforced instead of passing a new law.

After more than 12 hours of debate Tuesday, the House passed the bill. Gov. Mark Dayton signed it Wednesday.