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Utah ordinances to prohibit targeted residential protests

Utah

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PROVO, Utah (AP) — A pair of Utah cities passed ordinances prohibiting targeted protesting or picketing close to private homes.

The Lehi City Council and Spanish Fork City Council separately approved ordinances barring demonstrations aimed at a specific person within 100 feet (30 meters) of their home, The Provo Daily Herald reports.

The ordinances followed protests outside the homes of state officials, including Republican Gov. Gary Herbert and Department of Health Director Joseph Miner.

The Lehi ordinance makes targeted picketing within the restricted area a class B misdemeanor.

The Spanish Fork ordinance also carries a class B misdemeanor charge, but only after a second violation.

Ana Burgi of the Spanish Fork legal department told the city council the ordinance was narrowly tailored to balance two competing interests.

“The residents’ rights to free speech and peacefully protest on public sidewalks and streets, and the people’s right to feel secure and safe at home,” Burgi said.

Spanish Fork Police Chief Steven Adams said officers “need to have the tools on our belt in the event that something like this does take place so that we can separate and educate, and if push comes to shove, then we can refer them to the court.”

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