Bill 18, the Manitoba government's controversial anti-bullying legislation, has been passed.
The public schools amendment act (safe and inclusive schools) passed third reading 36-16 late Friday afternoon.
NDP MLAs stood up and applauded after the vote results were announced, with some hugging Education Minister Nancy Allan.
A clause in the legislation has concerned some religious educators and community members because it will require schools to accommodate students who want to start specific anti-bullying clubs, including gay-straight alliances (GSAs).
Some who attended public hearings on the bill earlier this month argued that forcing schools to accommodate GSAs goes against their own beliefs and infringes on religious freedoms.
Supporters of the bill have included numerous public school boards, organizations representing school boards and teachers, and LGBT groups.
Bill 18 was among 10 bills that were passed into law on Friday. The others include:
- Bill 33, the municipal modernization act, which will require small municipalities to merge. The NDP goverment made some concessions earlier this week, allowing Victoria Beach and Dunnottar to be excluded from the amalgamation plan.
- Bill 40, the residential tenancies amendment act, which the province says will protect tenants from unfair rent increases and reduce red tape for landlords.
- Amendments to the Highway Traffic Act to boost penalties for drunk driving, crack down on street racing and protect emergency crews and police at the roadside.
MLAs will now take a break from a marathon summer-long session. They will return to the legislature on Nov. 12 with the Speech from the Throne.