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|[ Introduced ]||[ Engrossed ]||[ House Amendment 001 ]|
|[ Senate Amendment 001 ]|
90_HB2370enr New Act Creates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Provides that State or local government may not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person (i) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and (ii) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. Provides that if a person's exercise of religion has been burdened in violation of this Act, that person may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and may obtain appropriate relief against a government; authorizes an award of attorney's fees and costs to a prevailing party. LRB9006195DJcdC HB2370 Enrolled LRB9006195DJcdC 1 AN ACT concerning religious freedom. 2 Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, 3 represented in the General Assembly: 4 Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the 5 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 6 Section 5. Definitions. In this Act: 7 "Demonstrates" means meets the burdens of going forward 8 with the evidence and of persuasion. 9 "Exercise of religion" means an act or refusal to act 10 that is substantially motivated by religious belief, whether 11 or not the religious exercise is compulsory or central to a 12 larger system of religious belief. 13 "Government" includes a branch, department, agency, 14 instrumentality, and official (or other person acting under 15 color of law) of the State of Illinois or a political 16 subdivision of the State, including a home rule unit. 17 Section 10. Findings and purposes. 18 (a) The General Assembly finds the following: 19 (1) The free exercise of religion is an inherent, 20 fundamental, and inalienable right secured by Article I, 21 Section 3 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois. 22 (2) Laws "neutral" toward religion, as well as laws 23 intended to interfere with the exercise of religion, may 24 burden the exercise of religion. 25 (3) Government should not substantially burden the 26 exercise of religion without compelling justification. 27 (4) In Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 28 (1990) the Supreme Court virtually eliminated the 29 requirement under the First Amendment to the United 30 States Constitution that government justify burdens on HB2370 Enrolled -2- LRB9006195DJcdC 1 the exercise of religion imposed by laws neutral toward 2 religion. 3 (5) In City of Boerne v. P. F. Flores, 65 LW 4612 4 (1997) the Supreme Court held that an Act passed by 5 Congress to address the matter of burdens placed on the 6 exercise of religion infringed on the legislative powers 7 reserved to the states under the Constitution of the 8 United States. 9 (6) The compelling interest test, as set forth in 10 Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), and Sherbert v. 11 Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963), is a workable test for 12 striking sensible balances between religious liberty and 13 competing governmental interests. 14 (b) The purposes of this Act are as follows: 15 (1) To restore the compelling interest test as set 16 forth in Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), and 17 Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963), and to guarantee 18 that a test of compelling governmental interest will be 19 imposed on all State and local (including home rule unit) 20 laws, ordinances, policies, procedures, practices, and 21 governmental actions in all cases in which the free 22 exercise of religion is substantially burdened. 23 (2) To provide a claim or defense to persons whose 24 exercise of religion is substantially burdened by 25 government. 26 Section 15. Free exercise of religion protected. 27 Government may not substantially burden a person's exercise 28 of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of 29 general applicability, unless it demonstrates that 30 application of the burden to the person (i) is in furtherance 31 of a compelling governmental interest and (ii) is the least 32 restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental 33 interest. HB2370 Enrolled -3- LRB9006195DJcdC 1 Section 20. Judicial relief. If a person's exercise of 2 religion has been burdened in violation of this Act, that 3 person may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a 4 judicial proceeding and may obtain appropriate relief against 5 a government. A party who prevails in an action to enforce 6 this Act against a government is entitled to recover 7 attorney's fees and costs incurred in maintaining the claim 8 or defense. 9 Section 25. Application of Act; home rule powers. 10 (a) This Act applies to all State and local (including 11 home rule unit) laws, ordinances, policies, procedures, 12 practices, and governmental actions and their 13 implementation, whether statutory or otherwise and whether 14 adopted before or after the effective date of this Act. 15 (b) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize a 16 government to burden any religious belief. 17 (c) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect, 18 interpret, or in any way address any of the following: (i) 19 that portion of the First Amendment of the United States 20 Constitution prohibiting laws respecting the establishment of 21 religion, (ii) the second sentence of Article I, Section 3 of 22 the Illinois Constitution, or (iii) Article X, Section 3 of 23 the Illinois Constitution. Granting government funding, 24 benefits, or exemptions, to the extent permissible under the 25 3 constitutional provisions described in items (i), (ii), and 26 (iii) of this subsection, does not constitute a violation of 27 this Act. In this subsection, "granting", used with respect 28 to government funding, benefits, or exemptions, does not 29 include the denial of government funding, benefits, or 30 exemptions. 31 (d) The corporate authorities of a municipality or other 32 unit of local government may enact ordinances, standards, 33 rules, or regulations that protect the free exercise of HB2370 Enrolled -4- LRB9006195DJcdC 1 religion in a manner or to an extent equal to or greater than 2 the protection provided in this Act. If an ordinance, 3 standard, rule, or regulation enacted under the authority of 4 this Section or under the authority of a unit of local 5 government's home rule powers prohibits, restricts, narrows, 6 or burdens a person's exercise of religion or permits the 7 prohibition, restriction, narrowing, or burdening of a 8 person's exercise of religion, that ordinance, standard, 9 rule, or regulation is void and unenforceable as to that 10 person if it (i) is not in furtherance of a compelling 11 governmental interest and (ii) is not the least restrictive 12 means of furthering that governmental interest. This 13 subsection is a limitation under subsection (i) of Section 6 14 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution on the concurrent 15 exercise by home rule units of powers and functions exercised 16 by the State. 17 Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect on 18 July 1, 1998.
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