Thirty-seven of the 40 Kansas Senators are signed on to legislation restriction funeral protests.
SB 244 would create a 300-foot protest-free buffer around funerals for one hour before and two hours after a funeral service. The bill would also make it illegal for protestors to obstruct a public street or sidewalk.
Last year, a similar bill failed to pass because lawmakers were afraid it would be struck down in a court challenge and the state would wind up paying the legal fees for protestors, in this case, Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church, which protests the funerals of soldiers across the country.
This year, lawmakers had a creative idea: get the attorney general to ask the court for a declaratory judgement on the law before it takes effect. That way, the Legislature will know whether the law works before anyone can sue.
Shirley Phelps-Roper, attorney and Westboro member, thinks that's great.
"It just saves us the trouble" of suing, she said. She expects the law to be struck down.
Posted by David Klepper