Anti-annoyance law gets in-person opposition

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Opposition grows to a law that could send people to jail for annoying first responders

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) — Members of the First Unitarian Church of Rochester joined Monroe County legislators in their chambers Tuesday evening to demand they repeal legislation that became law just last week.

That law makes it illegal to annoy first responders and could result in jail time.

Those opposed believe it will disproportionately impact communities of color arguing the law is the result of the too little diversity in the legislature.

“I think that’s how this got passed,” said Elizabeth Osta. “Karla Boyce should be ashamed of herself, they slipped this in with no review and now we have to get it off the books.”

Karla Boyce, a Republican, is one of the legislators who pushed for the bill.

At the time she said the bill was designed to make a first responder’s job safer adding, “We know that our law enforcement does have discretion when they are going to charge somebody with a crime, this law will be no different than that.”

Osta and others in her group counter that discretion is moot when it comes to the First Amendment saying if legislators do not reverse themselves they can expect continued challenge in court and in their chambers.

Many law enforcement officials in Monroe County say they will not enforce the law.

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