Springfield—State Rep. Kay Hatcher advanced legislation last week protecting grieving families from protests and other disrespectful conduct during funeral services for a loved one.
Hatcher (R-Yorkville) won overwhelming House approval of House Bill 180, which prohibits disorderly conduct near a funeral site while a funeral or memorial service is being conducted.
“This is a simple issue of respect and consideration owed to families saying goodbye to a loved one,” Hatcher said.
Hatcher’s legislation was inspired by hurtful protests at funeral services for fallen soldiers. It prohibits protests and disorderly conduct within 1,000 feet of a funeral site (currently 200 feet) and also prohibits protests from 60 minutes before the funeral begins to 60 minutes after the service ends (currently 30 minutes).
“A student from Northern Illinois University came to me with the realization that the current guidelines for conduct during funerals are just not adequate to ensure families can say goodbye in peace,” Hatcher said. “Our new restrictions won’t eliminate anyone’s freedom of speech rights, but they will help protect grieving families from having to unnecessarily endure additional stress and pain.”
Having passed the House, House Bill 180 now advances to the Senate for further consideration.