Thursday, May 23, 2013

Arizona Legislature Gives Final Passage Expansion of Sate RFRA; 2 Other Bills Near Final Legislative Action

In Arizona yesterday, the state Senate gave final passage, and sent to the Governor for her signature, SB 1178, which significantly expands Arizona's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bill allows a person whose religious exercise "is likely to be burdened" to sue because of the impending violation, without waiting for the infringement to actually occur.  The bill also allows RFRA to be asserted whenever state action burdens religion, even if the state is not a party to the litigation. The Center for Arizona Policy has additional background information on the bill. AP reports on the Senate's action on SB 1178, as well as on two other bills that are nearing final passage-- HB 2446 (bill status and text) that expands the property tax exemption to cover certain vacant land held by churches for expansion, and HB 2645 (bill status and text) that exempts church pre-schools from the requirements of unemployment compensation tax.