Legislator Proposes Measure to Curb Street Preachers at LDS Conference

A Utah legislator has borrowed from a Colorado law curbing anti-abortion activists to restrict actions of street preachers and others who protest outside places of worship.

Representative Doug Aagard of Kaysville said that after watching the actions of street preachers toward members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attending general conference last year, he started to look for a way to bring things in order.

Aagard's HB131 would make violation of the proposed restrictions a class B misdemeanor and would allow the person targeted with unwanted statements and leaflets to sue for civil damages and seek a court injunction.

It is similar to a 1993 Colorado law that been upheld by the U-S Supreme Court. That law makes it unlawful for any person within 100 feet of a health-care facility to knowingly approach a person within eight feet with the purpose of passing a leaflet, displaying a sign or engaging in ``sidewalk counseling.'' Protesters must stay 100 feet away from the facilities' entrances.

Aagard told members the law would help establish standards for street preachers outside Temple Square.