State Sen. Phil Pavlov is standing on the side of all active service members, veterans and military families to help keep order and honor at funeral services.
Pavlov and his Senate Republican colleagues on Wednesday approved House Bills 4284 and 4745, which prohibit those who attempt to disgrace a funeral from making any statement or gesture, or engaging in any other conduct, that would make a funeral attendee feel intimidated, threatened or harassed.
“This common-sense legislation protects those who have fought for the freedoms and liberties that Americans have long enjoyed. We cannot sit idly by as others try to disrespect our fallen soldiers and their families,” said Pavlov, R–St. Clair Township. “It is our duty to protect our First Amendment rights while at the same time preserving the dignity and sanctity of veterans and military funerals. I will continue to fight to allow our service men and women and their families to lay their loved ones to rest in peace.”
According to the legislation, a person convicted of disrupting a funeral would be guilty of a felony punishable by up to two years imprisonment, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both. The bills also increase the penalty for previous offenders to up to four years imprisonment, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both.
The bills now head to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Similar laws regarding behavior at military funerals have passed recently in other states, including Illinois, Arizona and Wyoming.