State Sen. Sylvia Santana (D) has introduced a bill criminalizing speech in the Democrats’ latest attempt to restrict the First Amendment.
Senate Bill 601 makes it a crime to commit an act that would make a “reasonable individual” — not necessarily even the alleged victim himself — feel “frightened” or “fearful”:
“…[A] person is guilty of criminal threatening if that person intentionally or knowingly threatens by word or conduct to commit against another individual or group of individuals an unlawful act of violence or to damage the property of another individual or group of individuals in a manner that would cause a reasonable individual to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or fearful and that actually causes the victim or victims to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or placed in fear,” the proposed law reads.
A first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
A second offense would be a felony carrying a prison term of up to two years and a $2,500 fine.
Santana’s bill, which was introduced October 19 and has no co-sponsors, was referred to the Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety.
In June, House Democrats introduced a bill to include speech in the state’s hate crime law.
House Bill 4474, sponsored by 45 of the 56 Democrat members, would criminalize an act that causes “severe mental anguish to another individual”, or “damages, destroys, or defaces any real, personal, digital, or online property of another individual”.
Violating the state “hate crime” law would be punishable by “imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or by a fine of not more than $2,000, or both.”
Interestingly, the amended law decreases the financial penalty from $5,000.
The bill defines “severe mental anguish” in part as “Administering mind-altering substances or performing a procedure that would disrupt another individual’s sense or personality, or threatening to do so.”
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According to the bill, violations would be considered hate crimes if they are targeted toward one’s “race or color,” “religion,” “sex,” “sexual orientation,” “gender identity or expression,” “physical or mental disability,” “age,” “ethnicity,” “national origin,” or “association or affiliation with an individual or group of individuals with a characteristic described” in one of those categories.
Michigan First Amendment lawyer David Kallman blasted the expansion.
“Under this amended criminal statute if you speak out against abortion, teenage transgender males showering with females and taking their spots on women’s teams, illegal immigrants flooding our nation, or simply refuse to use a person’s preferred pronouns, you will be prosecuted for a felony and can receive up to 5 years in prison and be fined $10,000.00,” he told Michigan News Source.
“But rest assured this law will not be enforced equally. If you want to attack pro-life pregnancy centers, assault others, or burn government buildings like Antifa, BLM, and other leftist groups, feel free to continue with your lawless behavior. This law is not meant for you.”