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Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 – Prohibits any agency, department, or official of the United States or any State (the government) from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except that the government may burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person: (1) furthers a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

Sets forth provisions pertaining to judicial relief, attorney’s fees, and applicability.

Declares that: (1) nothing in this Act shall be construed to interpret the clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the establishment of religion; (2) the granting of government funding, benefits, or exemptions, to the extent permissible under that clause, shall not constitute a violation of this Act; and (3) as used in this Act, “granting” does not include the denial of government funding, benefits, or exemptions. https://www.congress.gov/bill/103rd-congress/house-bill/1308

In addition to the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 23 states have their own version of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by the legislatures, and 9 that have state court decisions that have established Religious Freedom Restoration Act- like protections.

Alabama

That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship; nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles. http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/constitution/1901/CA-245534.htm

AMENDMENT 942 Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his or her own conscience. No person shall be compelled to attend, or, against his or her consent, to contribute to the erection or support of any place of religious worship, or to pay tithes, taxes, or other rates for the support of any minister of the gospel. http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/constitution/1901/CA-3243792.htm

AMENDMENT 622 SECTION III. The purpose of the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment is to guarantee that the freedom of religion is not burdened by state and local law; and to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious freedom is burdened by government. http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/constitution/1901/CA-170364.htm


Arizona

Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. §41-1493.01  Free exercise of religion protected

A. Free exercise of religion is a fundamental right that applies in this state even if laws, rules or other government actions are facially neutral.

B. Except as provided in subsection C, government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.

C. Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is both:

1. In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.

2. The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

D. A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government. A party who prevails in any action to enforce this article against a government shall recover attorney fees and costs.

E. In this section, the term substantially burden is intended solely to ensure that this article is not triggered by trivial, technical or de minimis infractions.

https://www.azleg.gov/ars/41/01493-01.htm


Florida

CHAPTER 761 RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

761.03 Free exercise of religion protected.— (1) The government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except that government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person: (a) Is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (b) Is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. (2) A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief.

https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/Chapter761/All


Illinois

(775 ILCS 35/10)

Sec. 10. Findings and purposes.

(a) The General Assembly finds the following:
(1) The free exercise of religion is an inherent, fundamental, and inalienable right secured by Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois.
(2) Laws “neutral” toward religion, as well as laws intended to interfere with the exercise of religion, may burden the exercise of religion.
(3) Government should not substantially burden the exercise of religion without compelling justification.

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2272



Louisiana

ART XIX.  PRESERVATION OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT

§5231.  Short title

This Part shall be known as and may be cited as the “Preservation of Religious Freedom Act”.

Acts 2010, No. 793, §1.

§5232.  Legislative findings

The legislature finds and declares that:

(1)  Free exercise of religion is a fundamental right of the highest order in this state.

(2)  In 1974, this legislature and the people of Louisiana chose to adopt the exact language found in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America regarding religious free exercise as Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution of Louisiana.

(3)  At the time of adoption of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution of Louisiana, the United States Supreme Court interpreted the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America to provide the same level of protection for an action of the government that explicitly burdened religious exercise as for an action that indirectly burdened religious exercise through its effect.  In both instances, the government had to show that it had a compelling interest in taking a particular action and that it was taking the action in a way that was least restrictive of a person’s right to freely exercise his religious beliefs.  This rule was set forth in the case of Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963), among other cases.

(4)  It was the intent of the legislature and the people of Louisiana in 1974 to provide that level of protection to its citizens.

(5)  In 1990, the United States Supreme Court, in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), reduced the protection available to persons in the exercise of their religious beliefs where a law was facially neutral or generally applicable by holding that the government need only give a rational basis for the action and need not supply the least restrictive means to achieve its goal.

(6)  The courts of Louisiana have not adopted the standard set forth in Employment Division v. Smith.  It was and continues to be the intent of this state that the protections afforded by the Sherbert case apply in Louisiana.

Acts 2010, No. 793, §1.

§5232.  Legislative findings

§5233.  Free exercise of religion protected

Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a facially neutral rule or a rule of general applicability, unless it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is both:

(1)  In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.

(2) The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

Acts 2010, No. 793, §1.

https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?d=725124


 

 

Texas

CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE | TITLE 5. GOVERNMENTAL LIABILITY | CHAPTER 110. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Sec. 110.003. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM PROTECTED.
(a) Subject to Subsection (b), a government agency may not substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion. (b) Subsection (a) does not apply if the government agency demonstrates that the application of the burden to the person:
  (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
  (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.
(c) A government agency that makes the demonstration required by Subsection (b) is not required to separately prove that the remedy and penalty provisions of the law, ordinance, rule, order, decision, practice, or other exercise of governmental authority that imposes the substantial burden are the least restrictive means to ensure compliance or to punish the failure to comply. https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CP/htm/CP.110.htm


South Carolina

SECTION 1-32-40. Restriction on state’s ability to burden exercise of religion.

The State may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the State demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is:

(1) in furtherance of a compelling state interest; and

(2) the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling state interest.

HISTORY: 1999 Act No. 38, Section 1.

https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t01c032.php


Tennessee

2010 Tennessee Code
Title 4 – State Government
Chapter 1 – General Provisions
Part 4 – Miscellaneous
4-1-407 – Preservation of religious freedom.
4-1-407. Preservation of religious freedom.

(a) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Demonstrates” means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion under the standard of clear and convincing evidence;

(2) “Exercise of religion” means the exercise of religion under article I, § 3 of the constitution of Tennessee and the first amendment to the United States constitution;

(3) “Fraudulent claim” means a claim that is dishonest in fact or that is made principally for a patently improper purpose, such as to harass the opposing party;

(4) “Frivolous claim” means a claim that completely lacks merit under existing law and cannot be supported by a good faith argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law;

(5) “Government entity” means any branch, department, agency, commission or instrumentality of state government, any official or other person acting under color of state law or any political subdivision of the state;

(6) “Prevails” means to obtain “prevailing party” status as defined by courts construing the federal Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Awards Act of 1976, compiled in 42 U.S.C. § 1988; and

(7) “Substantially burden” means to inhibit or curtail religiously motivated practice.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), no government entity shall substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.

(c) No government entity shall substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion unless it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is:

(1) Essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and

(2) The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

(d) (1) Nothing in this section shall be construed to:

(A) Authorize any government entity to burden any religious belief; or

(B) Affect, interpret or in any way address those portions of article I, § 3 of the constitution of Tennessee and the first amendment to the United States constitution that prohibit laws respecting the establishment of religion.

(2) Nothing in this section shall create or preclude a right of any religious organization to receive funding or other assistance from a government or of any person to receive government funding for a religious activity.

(e) A person whose religious exercise has been burdened by government in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in any judicial or administrative proceeding and may obtain such declaratory relief, monetary damages as may properly be awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction, or both declaratory relief and monetary damages. A person who prevails in any proceeding to enforce this section against a government entity may recover the person’s reasonable costs and attorney’s fees. Standing to assert a claim or defense under this section shall be governed by general rules of law that establish standing. This subsection (e) relating to attorney’s fees shall not apply to criminal prosecutions.

(f) Any person found by a court with jurisdiction over the action to have abused the protections of this section by filing a frivolous or fraudulent claim may be assessed the government entity’s court costs, if any, and may be enjoined from filing further claims under this section without leave of court.

[Acts 2009, ch. 573, § 1.]

https://law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2010/title-4/chapter-1/part-4/4-1-407/



Missouri

1.302. Religious freedom restoration act. — 1. A governmental authority may not restrict a person’s free exercise of religion, unless:

 

(1) The restriction is in the form of a rule of general applicability, and does not discriminate against religion, or among religions; and

 

(2) The governmental authority demonstrates that application of the restriction to the person is essential to further a compelling governmental interest, and is not unduly restrictive considering the relevant circumstances.

 

2. As used in this section, “exercise of religion” shall be defined as an act or refusal to act that is substantially motivated by religious belief, whether or not the religious exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.

 

3. As used in this section “demonstrates” means meets the burden of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.

 

Arkansas 2015 SB 975, enacted April 2, 2015 Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. §52-571b Florida Fla. Stat. §761.01, et seq. Idaho Idaho Code §73-402 Illinois Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 775, §35/1, et seq. Indiana 2015 SB 101, enacted March 26, 2015; 2015 SB 50, enacted April 2, 2015 Kansas Kan. Stat. §60-5301, et seq. Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. §446.350 Louisiana La. Rev. Stat. §13:5231, et seq. Mississippi Miss. Code §11-61-1 Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. §1.302 New Mexico N.M. Stat. §28-22-1, et seq. Oklahoma Okla. Stat. tit. 51, §251, et seq. Pennsylvania Pa. Stat. tit. 71, §2403 Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws §42-80.1-1, et seq. South Carolina S.C. Code §1-32-10, et seq. Tennessee Tenn. Code §4-1-407 Texas Tex. Civ. Prac. & Remedies Code §110.001, et seq. Virginia Va. Code §57-2.02

 

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