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ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Senate's Education Policy Committee passed a bill that supporters say will help protect students from being targeted for sexual orientation, ethnicity and religion.

The bill would also provide funding for bullying prevention programs.

Opponents argue that a state measure won't be able to address specific problems in certain schools.

"I believe it will be very hard to create a policy, from the state level and also be able to include all of the issues that each individual district and school may be dealing with," said Michelle Lefever, who spoke at Tuesday's hearing.

The bill now goes to the Senate Education Finance committee.

Similar legislation passed the house last year, but failed to clear the Senate.

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