Print Friendly SENATE BILL NO. 1394 – Free exercise of religion protected
SENATE BILL NO. 1394
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S1394................................................by JUDICIARY AND RULES
RELIGION - Adds to existing law to enact the "Free Exercise of Religion
Act" which is intended to assure that burdensome state and local laws will
not preclude the free exercise of religion.
02/10 Senate intro - 1st rdg - to printing
02/11 Rpt prt - to Jud
02/28 Rpt out - rec d/p - to 2nd rdg
02/29 2nd rdg - to 3rd rdg
03/06 3rd rdg - PASSED - 31-4-0
AYES--Andreason, Boatright, Bunderson, Burtenshaw, Cameron, Crow,
Danielson, Darrington, Davis, Deide, Frasure, Geddes, Hawkins,
Ingram, Ipsen, Keough, King-Barrutia, Lee, McLaughlin, Noh, Parry,
Richardson, Riggs, Risch, Sandy, Sorensen, Stegner, Thorne, Walton,
NAYS--Dunklin, Schroeder, Stennett, Whitworth
Absent and excused--None
Floor Sponsor - Ipsen
Title apvd - to House
03/07 House intro - 1st rdg - to Jud
03/16 Rpt out - rec d/p - to 2nd rdg
03/17 2nd rdg - to 3rd rdg
03/21 3rd rdg - PASSED - 53-17-0
AYES -- Alltus, Barraclough, Barrett, Bell, Black, Bruneel,
Callister, Campbell, Chase, Cheirrett, Clark, Crow, Cuddy, Deal,
Denney, Ellsworth, Field(13), Field(20), Geddes, Gould, Hadley,
Hammond, Hansen(23), Hornbeck, Kellogg, Kempton, Kendell, Kunz, Lake,
Linford, Loertscher, Mader, Marley, McKague, Mortensen, Moss, Moyle,
Pearce, Pischner, Pomeroy, Ridinger, Sali, Schaefer, Smylie,
Stevenson, Stoicheff, Stone, Taylor, Tilman, Wheeler, Wood,
Zimmermann, Mr Speaker
NAYS -- Bieter, Boe, Gagner, Hansen(29), Henbest, Jaquet, Jones,
Judd, Meyer, Montgomery, Reynolds, Ringo, Robison, Sellman, Shepherd,
Absent and excused -- None
Floor Sponsors - Mader, Stevenson
Title apvd - to Senate
03/22 To enrol
03/23 Rpt enrol - Pres signed
03/24 Sp signed
03/27 To Governor
03/31 Governor signed
Session Law Chapter 133
(Ch. 134 changes effective date to 2/1/01)
|||| LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ||||
Fifty-fifth Legislature Second Regular Session - 2000
IN THE SENATE
SENATE BILL NO. 1394
BY JUDICIARY AND RULES COMMITTEE
1 AN ACT
2 RELATING TO THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION; PROVIDING LEGISLATIVE INTENT;
3 AMENDING TITLE 73, IDAHO CODE, BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW CHAPTER 4, TITLE
4 73, IDAHO CODE, TO DEFINE TERMS, TO PROVIDE THAT THE FREE EXERCISE OF
5 RELIGION IS PROTECTED, TO PROVIDE APPLICABILITY AND TO PROVIDE SEVERABIL-
6 ITY; AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
7 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
8 SECTION 1. LEGISLATIVE INTENT. The Legislature finds that:
9 (1) The Constitution of the State of Idaho recognizes the free exercise
10 of religion.
11 (2) Laws that are facially neutral toward religion, as well as laws
12 intended to interfere with religious exercise, may burden religious exercise.
13 (3) Governments should not substantially burden religious exercise with-
14 out compelling justification.
15 (4) This state has independent authority to protect the free exercise of
16 religion by principles that are separate from, complementary to and more
17 expansive than the first amendment of the United States Constitution.
18 (5) Under its police power, the Legislature may establish statutory pro-
19 tections that codify and supplement rights guaranteed by the Constitution of
20 the State of Idaho.
21 (6) The compelling interest test, as set forth in the federal cases of
22 Wisconsin v. Yoder, (1972) and Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398, (1963) is a
23 workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and
24 competing government interests.
25 SECTION 2. That Title 73, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby amended
26 by the addition thereto of a NEW CHAPTER, to be known and designated as Chap-
27 ter 4, Title 73, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:
28 CHAPTER 4
29 FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION PROTECTED
30 73-401. DEFINITIONS. As used in this chapter unless the context otherwise
32 (1) "Demonstrates" means meets the burdens of going forward with evi-
33 dence, and persuasion under the standard of clear and convincing evidence.
34 (2) "Exercise of religion" means the ability to act or refusal to act in
35 a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the
36 exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
37 (3) "Government" includes this state and any agency or political subdivi-
38 sion of this state.
39 (4) "Political subdivision" includes any county, city, school district,
40 taxing district, municipal corporation, or agency of a county, city, school
41 district, or municipal corporation.
1 (5) "Substantially burden" means to inhibit or curtail religiously
2 motivated practices.
3 73-402. FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION PROTECTED. (1) Free exercise of reli-
4 gion is a fundamental right that applies in this state, even if laws, rules or
5 other government actions are facially neutral.
6 (2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, government
7 shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the
8 burden results from a rule of general applicability.
9 (3) Government may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion
10 only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is both:
11 (a) Essential to further a compelling governmental interest;
12 (b) The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmen-
13 tal interest.
14 (4) A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this
15 section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceed-
16 ing and obtain appropriate relief against a government. A party who prevails
17 in any action to enforce this chapter against a government shall recover
18 attorney's fees and costs.
19 (5) In this section, the term "substantially burden" is intended solely
20 to ensure that this chapter is not triggered by trivial, technical or de
21 minimis infractions.
22 73-403. APPLICABILITY. (1) This chapter applies to all state laws and
23 local ordinances and the implementation of those laws and ordinances, whether
24 statutory or otherwise, and whether enacted or adopted before, on or after the
25 effective date of this chapter.
26 (2) State laws that are enacted or adopted on or after the effective date
27 of this chapter are subject to this chapter unless the law explicitly excludes
28 application by reference to this chapter.
29 (3) This chapter shall not be construed to authorize any government to
30 burden any religious belief.
31 73-404. SEVERABILITY. If any provision of this act or its application to
32 any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect
33 other provisions or applications of this act that can be given effect without
34 the invalid provision or application and to this end the provisions of this
35 act are severable.
36 SECTION 3. An emergency existing therefor, which emergency is hereby
37 declared to exist, this act shall be in full force and effect on and after its
38 passage and approval.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The purpose of this legislation is to reestablish a test which courts must use to determine
whether a person's religious belief should be accommodated when a government action or
regulation restricts his or her religious practice. The test, known as the "compelling interest test,"
requires the government to prove with evidence that its regulation is (1) essential to achieve a
compelling governmental interest and (2) it is the least restrictive means of achieving the
government's compelling interest.
Prior to 1990 the U.S. Supreme Court used the above test--the "compelling interest
test"--when deciding religious claims. However, in a 1990 decision (Employment Div. of Oregon
v. Smith) the Court tipped the scales of justice in favor of government regulation by throwing out
the compelling interest test, which had shielded our religious freedom from onerous government
for more than 30 years. The Smith decision reduced the standard of review in religious freedom
cases to a "reasonableness standard." While all other fundamental rights (freedom of speech,
press, assembly, etc.) remain protected by the stringent "compelling interest test," the Court
singled out religious freedom by reducing its protection to the weak "reasonableness test."
A widely recognized principle of law is that states are free to protect an individual's right
with a much higher standard than the U.S. Constitution itself affords. Thus, in light of this
principle in conjunction with the Boerne decision, states are free to enact their own RFRA's
thereby choosing to apply the higher "compelling interest test" standard in their own religious
freedoms cases. .
There is no fiscal impact.
Name: Senator Grant lpsen
Phone: (208) 332-1326
Name: Representative Bert Stevenson
Phone: (208) 332-1000
Name: Senator Gordon Crow
Phone: (208) 332-1330
Name: Representative Dan Mader
Phone: (208) 332-1000
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE S 1394