New Michigan “Hate Speech” Bill Could Result In Felonies

Tensions are brewing in Michigan as a controversial hate speech bill, HB 4474, sails through the state House and now awaits the scrutiny of the Senate. The legislation, branded by critics as a Pandora’s box, seeks to replace Michigan’s Ethnic Intimidation Act and aims to criminalize actions that make individuals “feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened.” A tangle in the bill lies in its vague wording, with the term “harassment” used as a jigsaw piece without a clear fit, and a potential First Amendment violation. This bill, which is part of a legislative flotilla, introduces “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” to the pantheon of protected classes. Felonious violators facing up to five years of incarceration and a fine reaching $10,000. One formidable voice among them is distinguished Professor Emeritus William Wagner, a seasoned former federal judge and legal counsel in the US Senate. “Make no mistake about it. Those advocating for this legislation will wield these policies as a weapon capable of destroying conservative expression or viewpoints grounded in the sacred,” Wagner shared with The Daily Wire. A shadow falls on the bill’s ambiguities. It states, “’Intimidate’ means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable individual to feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened…” The open-ended language, critics argue, is akin to an inkblot in which intimidation and harassment may be interpreted based on an individual’s perspective and a local prosecutor’s whims. Wagner warns that under HB 4474’s auspices, a…New Michigan “Hate Speech” Bill Could Result In Felonies