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Rep. Luker says he’ll pull HB 427 from the House, back to committee

Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, has just announced that he plans to pull his religious freedom expansion bill, HB 427, from the House and ask that it be returned to committee. “The intent of the bill was to provide a shield to protect the free exercise of religion under the First Amendment in light of the variety of increasing government mandates,” Luker said in a statement. “However, many misinterpreted the intent to be a sword for discrimination.  I respect the concerns that I heard and therefore want to find the right language to balance those concerns.”

As of now, the bill remains on the amending order in the House; House members submitted a stack of proposed amendments a quarter-inch high, prompting House Speaker Scott Bedke to call for a “thoughtful pause” before taking up any amendments to the controversial measure. The bill would protect those who cite religion as a reason to refuse service to others to whom they object, making religion a defense in those cases; click below for Luker's full statement.


February  19 , 2014

News Release

HB427 Returns To Committee

 

(Boise) - Representative Lynn Luker will return HB427-The Religious Freedom Bill – to committee.  He decided to take more time to work on language to better achieve his original intent after hearing concerns expressed during public testimony in committee and comments received afterward.

“The intent of the bill was to provide a shield to protect the free exercise of religion under the First Amendment in light of the variety of increasing government mandates,” said Rep. Luker.  “However, many misinterpreted the intent to be a sword for discrimination.  I respect the concerns that I heard and therefore want to find the right language to balance those concerns.”

The bill was an amendment to Idaho’s existing Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  In 1993 Congress passed a federal RFRA and it was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.  The intent of the federal act was to restore the historic balancing test to determine if government actions unconstitutionally burden a person’s exercise of religion.  Clinton’s bill protected the exercise of religion when the government goes too far.  The Supreme Court said the federal RFRA doesn’t apply to state law, so it fell upon states to put their own RFRA in place.  Idaho passed its RFRA in 2000.

Idaho’s RFRA allows the defense to be used if the person is sued by the government.  HB427 would clarify that this shield can also be used when an individual sues.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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