OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 10:23 AM – Friday, April 28, 2023
During a discussion of new proposed measures, State Representative Harry Niska questioned if asserting that COVID-19 originated in China, or if commending Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling would constitute biased speech that could put individuals on a government database and watchlist.
Regarding the initial outbreak of the virus, it has now been confirmed by health and government officials that China was in fact the epicenter of where it all began, yet, some educational public health websites still attempt to take blame off of the Wuhan Lab and, rather, point fingers at a nearby seafood market in the same city.
“There has been a lot of evidence up to this point that the seafood market [in Wuhan] was the epicenter of SARS-CoV-2, but these recent reports are the death knell for any alternative theories… The reason why people thought that it wasn’t the market was because the Wuhan Virology Institute—a laboratory where scientists study coronaviruses—is in the same city. People thought that it came from [that] lab,” stated a John Hopkins article written in August 2022.
However, the U.S. Department of Energy has shifted its stance on the origin of the virus and now concludes, “with low confidence,” that the pandemic did most likely come from a laboratory leak.
“This report affirms our belief that the substantial circumstantial evidence favors COVID-19 emerging from a research-related incident. These revelations also further strengthen the need to uncover why high-ranking government officials, with help from Big Tech and the media, sought early on to silence any debate into a plausible theory of a lab incident while the Chinese Communist Party stonewalled investigations by the global scientific community,” stated the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
House File 181, a proposed amendment to Minnesota law, would record alleged bias occurrences even when they are not regarded as crimes. The St. Cloud Times reported that the legislation, which was proposed in January, would permit people to report suspected bias-related incidents such as claimed slurs, racial bias, and verbal assaults that would not be included in the yearly list of official hate crimes prepared by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Legislation of this nature could pose a serious threat to freedom of speech and religious freedom, according to Representative Walter Hudson (R-Minn.).
“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 told the press.
A discussion then ensued in which Niska (R-Minn.) posed a number of hypothetical questions regarding the proposed legislation with fellow Representative Samantha Vang (D-Minn.).
“If a Minnesotan writes an article claiming or arguing that COVID-19 is a Chinese bio-weapon that leaked from a lab in Wuhan, and someone reports that article to the Department of Human Rights, is that something that the Department of Human Rights should put in their bias registry under your bill?” Niska asked.
Even if the incidents are neither violent nor illegal, Vang claimed that since this kind of discourse is “bias motivated,” then “it can be considered a bias incident.”
Niska replied saying that Vang’s answer was extremely troubling. The representative then asked if someone wearing an “I love J.K. Rowling” shirt, for example, would be entered into the bias database.
“If a Minnesotan is wearing a t-shirt that says ‘I love J.K. Rowling’ and someone sees that and reports them to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights as an example of gender identity or gender expression bias, is that something that the Minnesota Department of Human Rights should put in this bias database?” he asked.
Vang stated that a lawyer would be better suited to respond to Niska’s query, adding, “I’m not going to say yes or no to that question.”
Following a series of tweets in June of 2020, J.K. Rowling had drawn major criticism for her remarks regarding trans people and the topic of biological sex and gender. She tweeted in frustration, referring to an article that mentioned “people who menstruate”, rather than women.
Many trans activists have now expressed that they will no longer support her or the Harry Potter franchise.
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