A chilling new proposal that is currently gestating within the Minnesota state legislature was slammed by a Republican lawmaker who warns that changes to existing law that would allow for the cataloging of alleged bias incidents, even if they aren’t actual crimes, would be setting a dangerous precedent that could lead to the creation of a “thoughtcrime” database.
“It’s a very insidious and conniving way to get the camel’s nose under the tent of expanding the scope of government scrutiny of speech beyond crimes and assault,” Rep. Walter Hudson told Fox News Digital of the bill which was introduced earlier this year, allowing people to report what they perceive as “bias-related” incidents that could include alleged slurs and other microaggressions that normally wouldn’t reach the level of “hate crimes” that are compiled yearly by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
According to the St. Cloud Times, “The changes would provide a way to measure the prevalence of bias incidents that either aren’t reported as crimes or fall short of the legal definitions,” with each alleged incident including information about the accused offender and perceived victim “relevant to that bias,” according to the law.
Hudson told the outlet that he was concerned that the bill’s language which “encompasses not just race but also gender identity and gender expression” is overly broad and that it could impinge upon religious freedoms, saying that he found the bill’s original draft to be “problematic” but noted that the legislation’s language has been amended to include alleged “incidents” that aren’t actual crimes.
Minnesota lawmaker slams bill that would create 'thoughtcrime' database of alleged bias incidents
— Walter Hudson (@WalterHudson) March 10, 2023
He said that the bill – which has a companion bill in the state Senate – is replete with references to “actual or perceived” identity, “So the intention of whoever is being accused of exhibiting bias is irrelevant.”
“The only thing that matters is how the person making the report feels,” Hudson told Fox News Digital. “If the person making the report feels as though they have been the victim of an incident of bias, then they have been the victim of an incident of bias. And we’re going to create a database of all of these subjective, arbitrary, whimsical feelings that people have had, not anything objective or tangible at all.”
“Using the data collected can help you and community groups inform next steps — education, outreach or some other decisions you decide to make,” Commissioner of the state Department of Human Rights Rebecca Lucero told a House committee earlier this year, saying that she “supports expanded options for people who face slurs or verbal attacks to report them. She said her office and state lawmakers would then have a better idea of the volume of such incidents,” the St. Cloud Times reported. “Neither the human rights law or the hate crimes provisions apply, for example, to slurs shouted at a person because of their race.”
“But for many incidents that occur that may not be criminal, there is no coordinated, consistent tracking, reporting, analysis and recommendations for next steps.” said Lucero. “Even if it is a crime, the police are not getting called, there will not be an investigation or a citation, so it will never be documented or tracked. No one will ever know about it except that person and community members who feel the residual effect.”
Hudson posted a video clip of Lucero’s own words to point out that such enhanced tracking methods are ripe with the potential for abuse.
Perhaps an example would help.
Earlier in testimony, Commissioner Lucero offered one.
A person on the side of a road gets mean things yelled at them by a passing car. It makes them sad.
That's the sort of thing they want "documented and tracked."
— Walter Hudson (@WalterHudson) January 18, 2023
“It seems very clear, based upon their focus on motivation, that they’re more concerned about what’s going on in people’s heads, which is protected speech, and that’s thoughtcrime,” Hudson said.
He also expressed his concerns that the law could be “looking at trying to basically profile communities, and the implication is that different communities will be scored based on how hateful they are in order to create narratives to further future legislative action,” and that it could be used to “effectively outlaw biblical expression” when it comes to expressed religious beliefs by social media users about sexuality and gender.
“It very much presents a direct threat — a chilling effect, at the very least — to normal, common Christian doctrinal biblical expression; or for that matter, all the Abrahamic faiths, because there’s not one of them that goes along with this gender ideology in its orthodox form,” he said.
The conservative lawmaker also told the outlet that the Minnesota bill is unlike any other legislation anywhere in the United States and has more in common with fascistic controls on free speech and thought that have been enacted in other so-called western “democracies” like Canada and the United Kingdom.
“I don’t believe that there’s anywhere else in the United States where government is documenting incidents that are not crimes in an effort to try to profile communities as being more hateful than others,” he said.
“There are other countries, like our neighbors to the north, that are further along in this agenda,” he said of Justin Trudeau’s “woke” dictatorship. “So it’s not even a slippery slope argument. It’s looking across the fence and not wanting to go there.”
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