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Written by Rep. Mike Smiddy   
Friday, 29 March 2013 08:35
PORT BYRON, IL – Legislation co-sponsored by state Rep. Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) to increase restrictions on protests at military funerals passed the House last week.

“Hateful political protests that harass and insult the loved ones of fallen soldiers are despicable and misguided,” said Smiddy. “When our men and women in uniform give the ultimate sacrifice, we have a responsibility to lay them to rest with the respect and dignity they deserve. Unfortunately, some individuals abuse military funeral services as an opportunity to make a provocative political statement and draw attention to themselves, and I want to make sure that military families have a buffer to protect them from these hateful actions.”

Currently, military funerals are protected within a 300 feet buffer zone from the funeral site’s entrance and exit points. Smiddy’s House Bill 2916 follows the line set by other states and extends this buffer zone to 1,000 feet. The legislation also extends the time frame when protests cannot be held to one hour before and one hour after the service.

“This bill will help to guarantee that military families can say their last goodbyes in peace and ensure our fallen soldiers are laid to rest without any disrespectful distractions,” Smiddy said. “With these stronger protections in place, we can better honor their sacrifices, their lives, and the friends, families, and promising futures they leave behind.”

House Bill 2916 is under consideration by the Senate. For more information, contact Smiddy’s office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , (309) 848-9098, or toll free at (855) 243-4988.

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