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Arizona House Passes Bill Prohibiting Picketing at Funerals; Lawmakers Display Bipartisan Spirit

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After swiftly moving through the state Senate and the House of Representatives, a bill that makes it illegal to protest or picket within 300 feet of funerals is making its way to Governor Jan Brewer, who is expected to sign the measure into law.

Lawmakers jumped into action -- with bipartisan spirit -- to protect the families of those who lost their lives during the January 8 shooting spree in Tucson after learning that members of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, planned to protest the funeral services of victims from Saturday's shootings.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema tells New Times that the bill was crafted to protect individuals' right to free speech while also protecting grieving families' right to be free of indimidation and harassment.

The proposed law -- Senate Bill 1101 and House Bill 2101 -- would make it a class 1 misdemeanor to protest within 300 feet of a funeral or burial service at a cemetery, funeral home, church or synagogue one hour before or after the services.

Read New Times' previous blog post on the bill.

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