Legislation introduced to the Indiana Senate would make it a crime to stray from approved lyrical or melodic guidelines while performing the national anthem at any event sponsored by public schools and state universities.
The bill was proposed by Sen. Vaneta Becker (R). She told The Indianapolis Star that it was inspired by a constituent who emailed her after being upset by a parody of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
“Sometimes it’s just done in a joking manner,” Becker said. “But I don’t think the national anthem is something we ought to be joking around with.”
The legislation would require performers to sign a contract agreeing to follow guidelines established by the State Department of Education. Those who failed to abide by the guidelines would be fined $25.
Additionally, schools would have to keep recordings of every performance for two years.
Earlier this year, an Indiana school told a 16-year-old African-American girl to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” in a more traditional way after another school in a predominately white district complained that her performance at their school was disrespectful to current and former members of the military.
The school later apologized to the girl after the story gained national attention.