Rep. Daniel Patterson (D), whose district covers southern Tucson including the city’s downtown, told me this afternoon that legislators are currently working on a constitutional way to keep Phelps and his crew away from the funerals.
“We’re going to try to protect the families from undue harassment,” Patterson told TPM.
Arizona House Democratic Caucus aide Sarah Muench told TPM that as soon as Westboro’s plans became public, leaders from both parties in the state legislature — which kicked off its new term Monday — got together to work on a way to prevent the church from harassing mourners.
The final language for the bill has yet to be written, but Muench said it will be modeled on other states’ laws aimed at limiting Westboro.
“It’s definitely going to happen,” Muench told me. “Hopefully this week.”
Let’s see how “constitutional” this law is. It will probably be a neutral Time, Place, and Manner regulation which won’t single out Westboro Baptists.
Update: From CNN.com, here is a description of the emergency act:
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is expected to sign emergency legislation passed Tuesday that bars protests within 300 feet of a funeral and within an hour from its beginning or end.
If I recall, the protest at Matthew Snyder’s funeral was 1,000 feet away. The WBC will find no problem with this act, and simply protest 300 feet away.