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Lehi, Spanish Fork issue ordinances against protesting private homes

About 75 protesters gathered outside Gov. Gary Herbert's personal residence in Orem Nov. 15 in defiance of the statewide mask mandate issued earlier this fall. (Garna Meija, KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Both Lehi and Spanish Fork city councils have banned targeted protesting in front of private homes, following several protests outside state officials’ homes — including those of Gov. Gary Herbert and Gov.-elect Spencer Cox.

Both ordinances require protesters to remain at least 100 feet away from an individual’s home. 

This comes after nearly 75 Utahns protested outside Herbert’s private residence Nov. 15 to oppose the statewide mask mandate. Protesters also gathered outside the homes of Cox, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn and Utah Department of Health’s Dr. Joseph Miner. 

The ordinance in Lehi passed with a 4-1 vote, making the offense a class B misdemeanor. Councilwoman Katie Koivisto was the only member to vote against the ordinance, arguing it overstepped constitutional boundaries. 

“I just don’t want to be able to take those rights away from individuals,” Koivisto said. “If they have the right to be on the street in front of my house, they should be able to do that (protest).”

Others disagreed. 

“I’m just afraid, without something like this, people will continue to push the limits — limits beyond what is their constitutional right,” said Lehi Mayor Mark Johnson to KSL.com. “Nobody’s going to argue with the right to protest. But you’ve got to realize when you’re protesting, you’re protesting a public persona. When you take it to somebody’s home, that’s a little bit different.”

Spanish Fork’s ordinance passed unanimously, making a violation punishable through an administrative notice. 

This comes almost a month after Orem passed a similar ordinance during an emergency session on Nov. 13. 

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