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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=22465
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 25, 2017 09:35 AM
From: Representative Duane D. Milne
To: All House members
Subject: Climate of Respect for You (CRY) at Bereavement Services
 
In recognition of Memorial Day and to mark its solemn purpose of honoring
members of the Armed Forces whom have died while serving in the U.S. military,
I, along with Rep. Toepel, am reintroducing a two bill package designed to uphold
the dignity deserved during bereavement services.

As an officer in the Army Reserve, I’ll defer to others to decide whether I’m
“twice the citizen” but I do know that I’m doubly offended when the final commemoration
of a service member is hijacked for a demonstration of some sort.

The phenomenon of protests being purposefully orchestrated within the footprint
of a funeral rears up intermittently. Generally these flare ups occur without prior notice, and
render the decedent’s loved ones dealing with a most distasteful distraction at the gathering.
Families and friends of the deceased, in the midst of mourning and going through grieving,
should not have to endure such difficulties being compounded by the discomfort unleased
by uninvited “attendees.”

All constitutionally-derived rights, be they freedom of expression or otherwise, incur some
constraints, whether based upon legal issues, political implications and/or agreed-upon
societal norms. To that end, and consistent with First Amendment principles, Rep. Toepel and I
are introducing a two bill package designed to protect CRY at bereavement services.

Under current state law, individuals commit a third degree misdemeanor[1] if they engage in
demonstration activities within 500 feet of any cemetery, mortuary, church or other location
being utilized for the purposes of a commemorative service within one hour prior to, during and
one hour following said ceremony.

Rep. Milne’s legislation will increase the radius beyond which protestors must remain from
500 feet to 1500 feet of any aforementioned designated site of a commemorative service.
Rep. Toepel’s bill will strengthen the grading of violations of this statute from a third degree to
a second degree misdemeanor.[2]

We would welcome your partnership in advancing CRY.



Introduced as HB716