Thursday, April 02, 2015

Arkansas Quickly Enacts Narrower Version of RFRA Than Originally Passed

Heeding Governor Asa Hutchinson's request (see prior posting), the Arkansas state legislature today gave final passage to a narrower version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act than the one it had passed earlier this week.  Senate Bill 975 (full text) now more closely mirrors the federal RFRA and is limited to claims or defenses against the government.  The ability to use the law in suits involving private parties was removed. The new version also eliminates a number of the broad definitional sections in the earlier bill. The law specifically provides that it is to be interpreted consistent with the federal RFRA and case law under it. As reported by USA Today,  Governor Hutchinson signed the bill  into law 30 minutes after the House completed passage of it.