Oswego County Legislature Adopts Law Regarding Protests At Military Funerals

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County Legislature adopted Local Law #1 of 2012 – which prohibits groups or individuals (without a permit) from picketing or disrupting military funerals in the county.

A public hearing was held prior to the start of last week’s county meeting.

The new law establishes a permit process regarding demonstrations at funeral event in accordance with state laws.

“What this does is bring our local law into consistency with the newly adopted state law,” explained Legislator Jack Proud, chairman of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee. “It establishes a fee level for a permit.”

The fee was set at $25.

The issue was raised last spring by former Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann, after reports surfaced of a possible disruption at the funeral of Navy pilot Lt. Nathan Hollingsworth Williams.

The Oswego High School graduate had been killed in a crash during a training exercise.

Family members have a right to mourn the loss of their loved ones without disruption by protesters and demonstrations, Leemann said at the time.

The law prohibits demonstrations within 1,000 feet of the funeral or memorial event (measured from the main entrance), from one hour prior to one hour after the event is completed without first securing a permit.

Violations will result in fines of $500 for the first offense, up to $1,000 for a second offense (within three years) and up to $2,000 for a third offense (within three years).

The law took effect immediately after the legislators approved it.