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Wisconsin State Senator: Require Anthem Prior to Events

Brock Fritz Headshot

A Wisconsin senator has proposed a bill that would require the national anthem to be played prior to any Wisconsin sport event that received public funding.

The Associated Press reported that the bill — the “Star-Spangled Banner Act” — was introduced Thursday by state Sen. Patrick Testin, of Stevens Point, who said he has support from the Wisconsin American Legion and VFW Department of Wisconsin.

While the act does not define its use of the term “sporting event,” it states that, “No sporting event may be held in a venue the construction of which was financed at least in part from moneys contributed by a state agency or local governmental unit unless the event is preceded by playing or singing the national anthem.”

“Hearing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at a sporting event reminds us that despite our differences, we have something in common — we are Americans,” Testin said in a statement, according to the AP. “This tradition traces its roots back more than a century — even pre-dating the song’s adoption as the national anthem. It’s a practice that unites us, and I believe it’s worth preserving.”

The AP reported that the bill does not include a penalty for violating the requirement.

According to the AP, the Star-Spangled Banner was designated as the national anthem in 1931. Near the end of World War II, the NFL ordered it played at every game and the tradition spread to other sports. The anthem has been discussed frequently in recent years, as some athletes have been taking a knee while it’s played to protest issues such as police brutality and racism.

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Related content: Tennessee Lawmakers Seek to Ban Anthem Kneeling

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