Church invasion bill signed into law

Church invasion bill signed into law

LANSING— Legislation which increases the penalties for intentionally interrupting any religious service or obstructing individuals from entering any religious building was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder last week, said Sen. Rick Jones.   

In 2008, approximately 20 people disrupted a worship service at Mount Hope Church in Delta Township. At this time, disrupting a religious service was a low level 90-day misdemeanor with a possibility of jail time and a fine of up to $500.

In light of the incident, Jones teamed up with state Rep. Deb Shaughnessy, R-Charlotte, to help pass House Bill 5560. Under the measure, first-time violators can receive up to 93 days imprisonment, a fine of not more than $1,000 and up to 100 hours of community service. A second offense would carry a penalty of up to 93 days imprisonment, a fine of not more than $5,000 and up to 200 hours of community service. 

"This week we will be celebrating Independence Day, and the freedom to worship is a right that Americans have died to protect,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “In Michigan and across America we must stand firm against any group that attempts to disrupt a religious service. I am hopeful that stricter punishment will deter anyone from interrupting a religious service. However, if it does not, I will go back to work and make it a felony.”