Law Would Fine Singers for Altering National Anthem

Indiana bill would cover all public school performances

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 30, 2011 10:45 AM CST

(Newser) – An Indiana lawmaker is sick of hearing the national anthem parodied, and she's proposing a law to ban such alterations. The bill would set a $25 fine payable by any singer who doesn't meet "performance standards" when belting out the tune at an event at a public school or state university, the Indianapolis Star reports. The "Star-Spangled Banner" performance standards would be set by the state's Education Department, and singers would have to sign a document pledging to stick with the rules.

State Sen. Vaneta Becker proposed the legislation after getting a call from a constituent fuming over altered lyrics at a school event. "Sometimes it's just done in a joking manner," Becker says. "But I don't think the national anthem is something we ought to be joking around with." Under the law, schools would have to hold on to recordings of every performance for two years. Indiana isn't the only state to have proposed rules around the song: In Massachusetts and Michigan, for example, "embellishment or addition" is prohibited.

'The Liberty Belles' sing the National Anthem at a ceremony observing the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011.
'The Liberty Belles' sing the National Anthem at a ceremony observing the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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