Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced legislation today “to amend existing federal funeral protest laws to help prevent disruptions at military funerals,” according to a press release from her office.
Entitled the Sanctity of Eternal Rest for Veterans, or “SERVE” Act, the measure defines the time and place for protests at funerals, and it provides clear remedies and increased penalties when conduct at military funeral services is not protected by the First Amendment. Joining Senator Snowe in introducing the measure are Senators Dan Coats (R-IN), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John Hoeven (R-ND), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
Specifically, the SERVE Act would increase the quiet time before and after military funeral services from 60 minutes to 120 minutes; increase from 150 feet to 300 feet the buffer around a military funeral service and increase from 300 feet to 500 feet the buffer around access routes to a funeral service area; and increase civil penalties on violators.
Read the bill here.