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HB 2567, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed the House on February 23 overwhelmingly with only two no votes! However, opponents are now calling with outlandish ideas, claiming this legislation will harm children and sanction discrimination. RFRA has been passed in 20 states, and this has not happened and would not happen.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has created a concurrent resolution (SCR 84), which would keep HB 2567, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, alive so that it can be assigned to an interim study committee over the summer. Both the Senate and House must vote to pass the resolution.
01/11/2012 (House) Introduced and referred to the Judiciary Committee
02/17/2012 (House) Passed Judiciary Committee by Voice Vote!
02/17/2012 (House) Bill placed on special calendar for 1st reading
02/20/2012 (House) Bill placed on special calendar and passed 1st reading
02/22/2012 (House) Bill placed on special calendar and passed 2d reading
02/23/2012 (House) Bill placed on special calendar and passed 3d reading 92-2
02/24/2012 (House) Bill introduced to Sentate and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee
On June 25, 1997, by a 6-3 majority, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in The City of Boerne v. Flores that the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was unconstitutional. By doing this, the court gave the lowest level of protection to religious liberty. Under this minimal standard, the state can override a citizen’s right to freely exercise his or her religious beliefs by simply proving that its regulation is “reasonable.” Since nearly all state regulations can be determined to be “reasonable,” religious freedom is exceedingly limited.
If passed, the West Virginia RFRA would restore the high standard of protection for religious liberty previously guaranteed in the federal RFRA and earlier Supreme Court decisions.
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