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Illinois bill would make flying US flag upside down a felony

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Democratic Illinois State Rep. Harry Benton, a veteran, has introduced a pair of bills in the Illinois Legislature aimed at addressing the practice of flying the American flag upside down. HB5860 would make it a felony for any government official to knowingly fly an American flag upside down on government property. Meanwhile, HB5861 proposes imposing a fine of up to $25,000 on such government officials.

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Recent headlines have highlighted this issue, with reports accusing Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito of hanging the flag upside down at his personal residence in 2021. However, Alito is not the only one drawing attention.

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The legislation comes in the wake of Homer Township Supervisor Steve Balich, R, flying the American flag union-side down outside of the official administration center.

Balich’s action occurred on May 31, one day after former President Donald Trump was convicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records in a New York courtroom.

“As Americans, no matter which political party you support, we should be outraged and very concerned,” Balich said in a statement. “Yesterday, I temporarily flew our nation’s flag upside down. Flying the flag upside down represents distress, and I truly believe that our country is in distress and our Constitution is under attack.”

“The flag of the United States is an enduring symbol of our national spirit and pride, as well as the sacrifices made by every generation of Americans,” State Rep. Harry Benton, D, said in response. “As elected leaders, we swear our oath to that flag and the nation it represents, not to a political leader. There’s no excuse for such disrespect of our flag and the men and women who served to defend it.”

Currently, there is no federal law restricting government officials from flying the American flag upside down on government property. The proposed legislation does not address personal property.

If the bills pass the Illinois Legislature and are signed into law, they would take effect immediately. Violating the law could result in government officials facing up to three years in prison.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

A PROPOSED LAW IN ILLINOIS IS FLYING IN THE FACE OF ADVOCATES OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT.

A STATE REP INTRODUCED A PAIR OF BILLS GEARED AT ADDRESSING FLYING THE AMERICAN FLAG UPSIDE DOWN.

ONE WOULD MAKE IT A FELONY FOR ANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL TO KNOWINGLY FLY AN AMERICAN FLAG UPSIDE DOWN ON GOVERNMENT PROPERTY.

AND THE OTHER – WOULD IMPOSE A FINE UP TO $25,000 ON THAT GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL.

THE PRACTICE HAS BEEN IN THE HEADLINES IN RECENT WEEKS – WITH REPORTS OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO BEING ACCUSED OF HANGING THE FLAG UPSIDE DOWN AT HIS PERSONAL RESIDENCE IN 2021. 

BUT IT’S NOT JUST ALITO GETTING ATTENTION – THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATION COMES ON THE HEELS OF HOMER TOWNSHIP SUPERVISOR STEVE BALICH FLYING THE AMERICAN FLAG UNION SIDE DOWN – OUTSIDE THE OFFICIAL ADMINISTRATION CENTER – ONE DAY AFTER FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP WAS CONVICTED ON 34 COUNTS OF FALSIFYING BUSINESS RECORDS IN A NEW YORK COURTROOM.

BALICH RELEASED A STATEMENT SAYING IN PART: “AS AMERICANS, NO MATTER WHICH POLITICAL PARTY YOU SUPPORT, WE SHOULD BE OUTRAGED AND VERY CONCERNED. YESTERDAY, I TEMPORARILY FLEW OUR NATION’S FLAG UPSIDE DOWN. FLYING THE FLAG UPSIDE DOWN REPRESENTS DISTRESS, AND I TRULY BELIEVE THAT OUR COUNTRY IS IN DISTRESS AND OUR CONSTITUTION IS UNDER ATTACK.”

THE DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE WHO INTRODUCED THE BILLS SAID IN RESPONSE: “THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES IS AN ENDURING SYMBOL OF OUR NATIONAL SPIRIT AND PRIDE, AND OF THE SACRIFICES MADE BY EVERY GENERATION OF AMERICANS. AS ELECTED LEADERS, WE SWEAR OUR OATH TO THAT FLAG AND THE NATION IT REPRESENTS, NOT TO A POLITICAL LEADER. THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR SUCH DISRESPECT OF OUR FLAG, AND THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVED TO DEFEND IT.” 

RIGHT NOW – THERE’S NO FEDERAL LAW RESTRICTING GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS FROM FLYING THE AMERICAN FLAG UPSIDE DOWN ON GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. 

THE BILL MENTIONS NOTHING ABOUT PERSONAL PROPERTY.

IF THE LEGISLATION PASSES THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE AND SIGNED INTO LAW – IT WOULD TAKE EFFECT IMMEDIATELY.

IF A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL IS FOUND TO BE IN VIOLATION – THEY COULD FACE UP TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON.

FOR STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS, I’M LT…

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