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Florida House bill aims to distance funeral protesters

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A bill that would ban protesting at funerals is now ready for a vote in the Florida House.

The bill was debated Wednesday. It has been in process for two years.

Though the bill targets those who protest military and law enforcement funerals, it would apply to all funerals. It would limit protesters to areas 500 feet away from the funeral site one hour before until one hour after the service.

State Rep. Patrick Rooney Jr. is a sponsor of the bill. He said his two main concerns are the safety and respect of the public and of those mourning.

He said at funerals, emotions are always running high.

“To put on top of that a group that wants to get some notoriety by protesting it and literally getting into the faces of people that are there to mourn,” Rooney said, “At some point you’re going to run into an actual safety issue.”

Rooney said he thinks this bill is something the public wants and will support, especially those attending funerals.

“They just want some time to be able to mourn and reflect on their loss without the worry of someone showing up for self-aggrandizement,” he said.

Rachel Crosby wrote this story online.

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