Indiana lawmaker pushes bill to fine singers who alter the national anthem

8 Jan

By Chris Engelhardt

Indiana Sen. Vaneta Becker has proposed a bill that would impose a $25 fine on anyone who deviates from the standards in performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at events sponsored by public schools and universities, Rolling Stone reported on Jan. 5.

According to Becker, the legislation is aimed at those who change the words of the anthem. It is unclear, however, whether or not instrumental versions of the song, such as Jimi Hendrix’s classic version from the Woodstock festival, would violate the proposed standard.

“It’s not like we’re going after anyone’s ability to sing,” Becker said in an interview. “It’s more that we just want them to respect the words and the tune as it was originally intended and we normally sing it.”

If the bill passes in Indiana, it would not be the first state law governing the performance of the national anthem. Massachusetts currently has a law imposing up to $100 in fines for playing the song as “dance music” or “as part of a medley,” while Michigan prohibits anyone from singing the song in a public space except in its entirety and “without embellishment.”

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2 Responses to “Indiana lawmaker pushes bill to fine singers who alter the national anthem”

  1. Momma E. January 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    Hi Chris-The national anthem is sacrosanct. You shouldnt mess up or add to the words. It is what it is. “artistic license” does not apply. Just my opinion, for what it’s worth. Donna

  2. Aubrey January 30, 2012 at 4:44 am #

    Hello Chris! Here in the Philippines, it’s against the law to alter our National Anthem under Republic Act 8491 Chapter 2, penalties in Chapter 7. The fine is from Php5000-Php20,000 (that’s about US$100-US$400. Violators may also be imprisoned. You may check it here: http://www.chanrobles.com/republicactno8491.htm

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