Senate panel approves ban on protests at military funerals

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The Senate Regulated Industries Committee unanimously approved a measure to shield the families of deceased military veterans and others from political protests during funerals, reports the News Service of Florida. The proposal, SB 682, passed unanimously. Rev. Fred Phelps, a Topeka, Kans. minister, and his followers have been picketing the funerals of military personnel and AIDS/HIV victims in a protest over what they say is the country’s tolerance of homosexuality. The bill would it a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, to picket within 500 feet of a funeral service of a military veteran, emergency responder or minor. The ban would last one hour before and one hour after the service.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.