The Minnesota House passed a bill aimed at toughening the state's anti-bullying law by a vote of 69-63 early Wednesday.
The bill - the Safe and Supportive Schools Act - defines bullying, in part, as behavior that causes physical harm or fear of physical harm and "constitutes intentional infliction of emotional distress."
"This provides a strong set of tools to create a strong local anti-bullying policy and create safe educational climates in Minnesota," said Rep. Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis, the bill's sponsor.
The measure already has cleared the Senate. Gov. Mark Dayton plans to sign the bill into law in a public ceremony at 4 p.m. today on State Capitol steps.
The bill would require school districts to track and investigate cases of bullying and require schools to better train staff and teachers on how to prevent it. Current law requires school districts to have a bullying policy but omits details on what the policy should contain.
House members who oppose the measure argued that it would do little to reduce bullying, would remove local control from school districts and would be too expensive to implement.
Susan Hogan contributed to this story.