2016 State Religious Freedom Restoration Act Legislation

12/31/2016

Gavel on a BookTwenty-one states have enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Acts since 1993. Currently, ten states are considering legislation on the topic this year.  Virginia amended their state RFRA, but otherwise no states have passed their legislation.

Below is a list of legislation with final disposition listed alongside the bill when applicable. Enacted legislation is in bold.

 

 

Religious Freedom Restoration Legislation

Jurisdiction

Bill Number

Summary

Colorado

HB 1180

Concerns a person's free exercise of religion.

Georgia

HB 757

Status: 3/28/2016 - Vetoed

Relates to marriage generally; provides that religious officials shall not be required to perform marriage ceremonies in violation of their legal right to free exercise of religion; relates to selling and other trade practices to change certain provisions relating to days of rest for employees of business and industry; protects property owners which are religious institutions against infringement of religious freedom; provides for waiver of sovereign immunity.

Section 6 of the bill introduces language similar to other state RFRAs.

Hawaii

HB 2764

Provides that government should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification. Establishes protections for religious freedom, including in the laws concerning public accommodations and marriage.

Iowa

HB 2032

Relates to the preservation of religious freedom.

Iowa

HB 2200

Relates to the standard of judicial review. Provides a claim or defense when a state action burdens a person's exercise of religion. Includes effective date provisions.

Iowa

SB 2171

Relates to the standard of judicial review and providing a claim or defense when a state action burdens a person's exercise of religion. Includes effective date provisions.

Kentucky

SB 180

Defines protected activities, protected activity provider, and protected rights. Provides legislative intent. Prohibits any statute, regulation, ordinance, order, judgment, or other law or action by any court, commission, or other public agency from impairing, impeding, infringing upon, or otherwise restricting the exercise of protected rights by any protected activity provider. Prohibits a protected activity provider from being fined, imprisoned, held in contempt, or otherwise punished or found liable.

Mississippi

SB 2822

Clarifies the application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

New Mexico

HB 55

Relates to religious freedom. Amends the human rights act to prohibit the application of any law that burdens the free exercise of religion. Amends the New Mexico religious freedom restoration act to prevent discriminatory action by a person or a government agency in response to a person's free exercise of religion. Provides for notice.

Oklahoma

SB 898

Relates to the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act. Relates to burdens upon free exercise of religion, including withholding benefits, assessing criminal, civil or administrative penalties or excluding from governmental programs or access to governmental facilities. Provides for a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision is a party to the proceeding. Provides for injunctive or declaratory relief, compensatory damages, and attorney fees and costs.

Virginia

HB 791

Status: Enacted – 3/7/2016

Relates to the Act for Religious Freedom. Reaffirms that the religious rights asserted in a specified section of the code are the natural and unalienable rights of mankind, and this declaration is the policy of the commonwealth.

West Virginia

HB 2508

Creates the Freedom of Conscience Protection Act.

West Virginia

HB 4012

Establishes the States Religious Freedom Restoration Ac. Ensures that all cases where state action is alleged to substantially burden the exercise of religion, that a compelling interest test is mandated, and, strict scrutiny is applied. Provides definitions. Addresses applicability, construction, remedies, and severability.

West Virginia

SB 11

Establishes Freedom of Conscience Protection Act.



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