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Mo. House approves funeral protest restrictions

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri House members are pressing forward with restrictions on funeral protests despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that sided with demonstrators.

The House voted 142-15 on Thursday to bar protests within 500 feet of a cemetery, mortuary or church from two hours before a funeral to two hours after it. Previous Missouri laws restricting funeral protests were declared unconstitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with a Topeka, Kan., group that protests at funerals after it was sued for emotional pain following a protest in Maryland. The high court ruled that the First Amendment protects “even hurtful speech on public issues.”

Backers of the Missouri legislation say the Supreme Court ruling would not directly affect their bill. Critics say the legislation restricts free speech.

The measure now goes to the Senate.

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Funeral protests is HB276

Online:

Legislature: http://www.moga.mo.gov

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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