Senate File 436 - Introduced SENATE FILE 436 BY GUTH , SCHULTZ , ROZENBOOM , WHITING , JOHNSON , CARLIN , and J. TAYLOR A BILL FOR An Act relating to the standard of judicial review and 1 providing a claim or defense when a state action burdens a 2 person’s exercise of religion, and including effective date 3 provisions. 4 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 5 TLSB 1523XS (4) 89 cm/jh
S.F. 436 Section 1. NEW SECTION . 675.1 Short title. 1 This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the 2 “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” . 3 Sec. 2. NEW SECTION . 675.2 Legislative purpose and intent. 4 The purpose and intent of this chapter is all of the 5 following: 6 1. To restore the compelling interest test as set forth 7 in Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963) and Wisconsin v. 8 Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), and to guarantee its application in 9 all cases where the free exercise of religion is substantially 10 burdened by state action. 11 2. That this chapter be interpreted consistent with the 12 Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. §2000bb et 13 seq., federal case law, and federal jurisprudence. 14 3. To provide a claim or defense to a person whose exercise 15 of religion is substantially burdened by state action. 16 Sec. 3. NEW SECTION . 675.3 Definitions. 17 As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise 18 requires: 19 1. “Demonstrates” means to meet the burdens of going forward 20 with the evidence and of persuasion. 21 2. “Exercise of religion” means the practice or observance 22 of religion, including any action that is motivated by a 23 sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the exercise is 24 compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief. 25 3. “Government” includes a branch, department, agency, 26 instrumentality, political subdivision, official, or other 27 person acting under color of law of the state. 28 4. “State law” includes without limitation a law, ordinance, 29 or resolution of a political subdivision. 30 Sec. 4. NEW SECTION . 675.4 Free exercise of religion 31 protected. 32 1. Government shall not substantially burden a person’s 33 exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule 34 of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that 35 -1- LSB 1523XS (4) 89 cm/jh 1/ 3
S.F. 436 applying the burden to that person’s exercise of religion is 1 in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is 2 the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling 3 governmental interest. 4 2. A person whose exercise of religion has been burdened 5 in violation of this chapter may assert such violation as a 6 claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding 7 and obtain appropriate relief. Standing to assert a claim or 8 defense under this chapter shall be governed by the general 9 rules of standing under state and federal law. 10 Sec. 5. NEW SECTION . 675.5 Applicability. 11 This chapter applies to all state and local laws and the 12 implementation of state and local laws, whether statutory 13 or otherwise, and whether adopted before, on, or after the 14 effective date of this Act. 15 Sec. 6. EFFECTIVE UPON ENACTMENT. This Act, being deemed of 16 immediate importance, takes effect upon enactment. 17 EXPLANATION 18 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 19 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 20 This bill relates to the standard of judicial review when a 21 state action burdens a person’s exercise of religion. 22 Under current law, a court is not required to apply 23 heightened scrutiny when reviewing a law that burdens a 24 person’s exercise of religion when such law is generally 25 applicable. The bill provides that a court shall apply the 26 compelling interest test set forth in Sherbert v. Verner, 374 27 U.S. 398 (1963) and Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972) in 28 such cases, so that state action cannot substantially burden a 29 person’s exercise of religion unless it is demonstrated that 30 applying the law of general applicability is in furtherance of 31 a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive 32 means of furthering that interest. The bill provides that a 33 person whose exercise of religion has been burdened by state 34 action may assert such violation as a claim or defense in a 35 -2- LSB 1523XS (4) 89 cm/jh 2/ 3
S.F. 436 judicial or administrative proceeding. 1 The bill takes effect upon enactment. 2 -3- LSB 1523XS (4) 89 cm/jh 3/ 3