Disrupting a House of Worship One Step Closer to being a Crime
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Disrupting a House of Worship One Step Closer to being a Crime

Date: March 21, 2012
By: Joe Chiodo
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: 
Sparked by past incidents around the nation, a bill making disrupting a house of worship punishable with jail time received first round approval in the Missouri House.
RunTime:  0:48
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The Senate bill would punish people disrupting churches, synagogues, and other places of worship.

First time offenders would face up to fifteen days in jail and a three hundred dollar fine for the use of profanity, indecent behavior, or unreasonable noise at religious buildings.

Bill sponsor Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer says disruptions in Missouri, Illinois, and several other states are the reason for the bill.

Actuality:  MAYERW.WAV
Run Time:  00:09
Description: "There's been some isolated incidences and it seems like we're seeing more people throughout society that don't respect the rights and property of others."
Last month Mayer said the bill is partially inspired from the Westboro Baptist Church protests, which have taken place a military veteran funerals. 

The bill faces one more vote before heading to the house.

Reporting from the state capitol, I'm Joe Chiodo

Intro: 
A bill making disrupting religious worshiping could soon put some people in jail, after receiving first round approval in the Missouri House.
RunTime:  0:48
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The Senate bill makes intentional indecent or disruptive behavior a crime deserving of fifteen days in jail for first time offenders.

This includes actions such as profanity and unreasonable noise, so some senators worry lawyers and prosecutors will take advantage of the bill's language.

But Senator Rob Schaaf disagrees.

Actuality:  SCHAAF.WAV
Run Time:  00:15
Description: "As you know it seems to be running kind of rampant throughout society and in other institutions and so I don't foresee a rash of prosecutions."
 
Last month Mayer said the bill is partially inspired from the Westboro Baptist Church protests, which have taken place a military veteran funerals. 

The bill faces one more vote before heading to the house.

Reporting from the state capitol, I'm Joe Chiodo

Intro: 
Sparked by past incidents around the nation, a bill making disrupting a house of worship punishable with jail time received first round approval in the Missouri House.
RunTime:  0:48
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The Senate bill makes the use of profanity, indecent exposure, and unreasonable noise a crime deserving of up to fifteen days in jail for first time offenders.

Some senators questioned bill sponsor Senate President Pro Temp Rob Mayer about the language of the bill -- saying it is too vague.

Senator Rob Schaaf told Mayer the language makes the bill too objective. 

Actuality:  SCHAAF.WAV
Run Time:  00:15
Description: "I just am not sure that making it a crime for being intentionally rude that disquiets a house of worship...It's so subject to opinion. What's rude? What's rude to one person may not be rude to another."

But Mayer says under Missouri case law, such terms would be fall under disturbing the peace.

The bill faces one more vote before heading to the House.

Reporting from the State capitol, I'm Joe Chiodo


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