Indiana SB 101 EXAMINED

Thanks to a family friend, I have gotten the link to read over the new law that adds a set of changes to how the State of Indiana acts on Religious Freedom. You can take a look here for SB 101. The intent of this is merely to inform, and to recognize that this law since it has passed, is on questionable legal grounding. At the root of the problem is whether or not a business can decline a transaction via discrimination of the customer on the grounds of religious belief.

Here is a simplification of the law. I know some language in the text I have omitted, and some texts I have expounded on. That is because some language of the law is simply that, language. It merely explains how certain words in the following sections will be used or defined. He who names names, wins. Without any further ado, here’s the new law that was signed by Governor Pence today.

Section 1: This law will affect the way government carries out the law

Section 2: No government entity is to be made exempt from this law, unless it has been stated within the law.

Section 3: The law deals with the first amendment and the Indiana Constitution which both prohibit the establishment of a state religion. The law deals with benefits from government.

Section 4: Defining Demonstrates (Seriously)

Section 5: Exercise of Religion includes any exercise of a faith, whether or not this exercise is central or even established to the tenants of the espoused faith.

Section 6: Defining what is a government entity (Seriously)

Section 7: A person is an individual, a religious organization of some variety or group organized for religion, a company, or a corporation; whether small, limited, joint stock, large, or even Wal-Mart sized. These persons must be able to be sued or can sue, and exercises practices that are compelled or limited by some religious belief. The individuals who define the beliefs of the ‘person’ are those individuals who control ownership in substantial part, whether profit or nonprofit.
Hobby Lobby’s Supreme Court case defined that certain businesses, as well as organizations of profit or non-profit capacity could in fact, have access to the First Amendment rights. Meaning that a company Wal-Mart sized could decide to express its values through money and information releases, put out petitions to influence the state in its favor, assemble a group of citizens to its cause to support its cause, embrace and force upon its employees a set of standards that comported with the religion, regardless if the person hired was of the same religious doctrine.

Section 8a: a government entity may not ‘substantially’ burden the right of a person to exercise their religion, even if the burden could be an occurrence from a rule of general applicability.
What that means is that the law is not allowed to burden a religious person, even if the rest of society is beholden to that law.

Section 8b: The government does have the ability to burden your religious rights if that would be in the government’s interest, and if this decision would be the least restrictive option possible to further the government’s interest.
The government does not jeopardize the rights of individuals, event those immune to some laws, unless the government feels it benefits from doing so and can argue that jeopardizing one’s right, say to not sell a cake to a homosexual couple, and would be in the best interest of the government. Basically, unless Indiana thinks it would be beneficial to Indiana, Indiana does not have to defend or protect some citizens from the exercising of rights of other citizens.
I could hyperbole an argument in which the state of Indiana does not criminalize my mass murder of the population because I might be able to prove its part of my religious worship and that it would be a non-benefit or punishment to the state to punish me for violating the laws. Additionally, Indiana would have to prove that imprisoning or executing me was the least restrictive method to stop my mass murdering and the exercising of my religious belief to mass murder the population.

Section 9: You may seek criminal or civil court cases to demand recompense for your right being hampered by the state. The government must take part if it’s violating the exercising of religious freedoms. However, if the state isn’t party to the trial, it may decide to intervene in any case it desires and choose a side.

Section 10: If you prove the government did a bad thing, you can seek compensation for their bad things.

Section 11: You cannot use this law to seek damages against a private employer, if you are a former or current employee, or were an applicant to that business.
Meaning this law is not intended to be used to sue businesses for discrimination in the hiring process. Instead, it’s meant to allow businesses or individuals the right to not carry out an action because it violates their personal religious view.

Should this law, which it will, be presented in a civil or court case, relevant hearings from the Supreme Court will apply. I could offer translations of both decisions I feel are important, if people feel they would be particularly helpful. Here is the Hobby Lobby Case. Here is the Citizens United Case.

For a fun case on religious freedom, you need a level of proof to your religious organization. Greetings Larson v. Valente. As for why there isn’t a government test for what counts as a religious belief, or what is considered HERESY, see United States v. Ballard.

HOWEVER, if I had to point to one case that particularly makes this law questionable, it is Valentine v. Chrestensen, which deals with commercial speech. The 1942 decision was based on the fact that advertising was not a protected form of speech, and that an individual’s right to free speech does not guarantee his/her business’ right to free speech. It will be interesting to see the legal battle that defends the right of Commercial Religion, or the ability to profit or discriminate business transactions in the name of business.

Why Secretary Clinton is a Victim-Suspect in a Bureaucratic Crime. The Crime? Vague Standards that mean nothing.

Having done record retention while I worked at the State Department, I can state that the system was just beginning to be digitized, and I was helping the Logistics Management group, and the Chief of Contracts begin that move. It wasn’t the branch office’s fault, specifications on what would be required to do the move were never fully provided because the set of credentials to meet the specifications were and are INCREDIBLY VAGUE. (I had a Unclassified but Sensitive Information Ban on me, if I seem vague, its because my Patriotism and Nationalism prevent me from possibly hurting the government, or getting in trouble with it. I love America, and I loved the State Department. At least my branch office, A/LM/OPS/TTM/TM. Shameless plug)

I spent a lot of time with old documents, because prior to the digitization policy, there wasn’t even a specified limitation on how long files must be retained. Some branches and administrations inside the State Department used 5 years, some 10, some didn’t even have an amount.

The reality is, it wouldn’t be unusual that the Secretary would have physical printouts of emails brought to her, or that she accessed her email off site. And sometimes, it would be even plausible that she used her private email, as some of the staff I worked with would do so when dealing with issues officially on days they were sick and could not telecommute. (due to State Department policy on what constituted telecommuting)

I see the fears and worries that perhaps her internet and priority or sensitive information could have been leaked. That being said, that’s a security dilemma across the agency as they begin this digitization switch because if they don’t possess the football, who does? All options have hazards of access.

Was she jeopardizing national security by doing this? Maybe, but I feel that this is a particularly murky area, and one that I spent 3 months doing for an entire office group. I’m sorry, but for once and maybe the last time in my life, I won’t give Hillary a whopping here. Why? The environment isn’t filled with IT or Computer Specialists, its accountants and bureaucrats. There were several policies that dealt with “10 things smart people don’t do with computers.”

I had to work with my boss for two months on figuring these things out. It was in the last month that I actually began the process of digitization, and that’s because the Obama administration did not create a clear set of definitions for the carryout of the process. It was vague, unsatisfying, and my boss who didn’t like unsafe technology, was especially worried and rightly so, about the security of the government information.

Is Secretary Clinton not guilty of accidental leaks and the wrong eyes seeing sensitive, priority, classified, and secret information? No…but at the same time, anyone in the State Department who wasn’t an IT expert to do the digitization carryover would be guilty of the same. The problem here is that the process showcased an endemic issue of bureaucracies: They are slow to change, slow to progress, and failing in optimization. Anyone who expected a different result when the Obama Administration released a set of vague guidelines would be insane. And anyone who thought the Administration could create a comprehensive set of guidelines to follow without an IT expert leading the change would also be insane.

Basically, Secretary Clinton may be guilty of a crime, but the crime was committed because there might have not been anyway to carry out the process without the crime occurring. Meaning, there would be a possibility of information being vulnerable during this process, even if she was in her office getting her own documents. I am not saying let it slide, but rather than crucifying the former State Secretary, why not use this as impetus to create a set of guidelines that make sense, and use corporate and internet standards, and then work with those companies to achieve the digitization policy.

Because I don’t have a Computer Science Degree, and I don’t have qualifications in System Administration or Security. But I acquired the experience of it because of this situation. At best, I had Information Technology experience, and I could help with computer software and standard Windows issues. I am actually a Subject Matter Expert on Information Retention and Security thanks to a 3-month Internship at A/LM/OPS/TTM/TM. That symbol, as the State Department calls it, stands for “Administration/Logistics Management/Operations/Transportation and Travel Management/and Travel Management.” Basically, we got cargo to and from places, and we took care of your cargo in case of problems. There were contractors, State Department employees, government agencies, and frustrations were rampant in the branch office because the branch office is the bad guy of the State Department. They were the “NO” department.