SENATE BILL 1062
amending sections 41‑1493 and 41‑1493.01, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to the free exercise of religion.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Section 41-1493, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:
1. "Demonstrates" means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.
2. "Exercise of religion" means the practice or observance of religion, including the ability to act or refusal to act in a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
3. "Government" includes this state and any agency or political subdivision of this state.
4. "Nonreligious assembly or institution" includes all membership organizations, theaters, cultural centers, dance halls, fraternal orders, amphitheaters and places of public assembly regardless of size that a government or political subdivision allows to meet in a zoning district by code or ordinance or by practice.
5. "Person" includes any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution or other business organization.
6. "Political subdivision" includes any county, city, including a charter city, town, school district, municipal corporation or special district, any board, commission or agency of a county, city, including a charter city, town, school district, municipal corporation or special district or any other local public agency.
7. "Religion‑neutral zoning standards":
(a) Means numerically definable standards such as maximum occupancy codes, height restrictions, setbacks, fire codes, parking space requirements, sewer capacity limitations and traffic congestion limitations.
(b) Does not include:
(i) Synergy with uses that a government holds as more desirable.
(ii) The ability to raise tax revenues.
8. "Suitable alternate property" means a financially feasible property considering the person's revenue sources and other financial obligations with respect to the person's exercise of religion and with relation to spending that is in the same zoning district or in a contiguous area that the person finds acceptable for conducting the person's religious mission and that is large enough to fully accommodate the current and projected seating capacity requirements of the person in a manner that the person deems suitable for the person's religious mission.
9. "Unreasonable burden" means that a person is prevented from using the person's property in a manner that the person finds satisfactory to fulfill the person's religious mission.
Sec. 2. Section 41-1493.01, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
41-1493.01. Free exercise of religion protected; definition
A. Free exercise of religion is a fundamental right that applies in this state even if laws, rules or other government actions are facially neutral.
B. Except as provided in subsection C of this section, state action shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.
C. State action may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if the government or nongovernmental person seeking the enforcement of state action demonstrates that application of the burden to the person's exercise of religion in this particular instance is both:
1. In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.
2. The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
D. A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding.
E. A PERSON THAT ASSERTS A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION MUST ESTABLISH ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. THAT THE PERSON'S ACTION OR REFUSAL TO ACT IS MOTIVATED BY A RELIGIOUS BELIEF.
2. THAT THE PERSON'S RELIGIOUS BELIEF IS SINCERELY HELD.
3. THAT THE STATE ACTION SUBSTANTIALLY BURDENS THE EXERCISE OF THE PERSON'S RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
F. THE PERSON ASSERTING A CLAIM OR DEFENSE UNDER SUBSECTION D OF THIS SECTION MAY OBTAIN INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF. A party who prevails in any action to enforce this article against a government shall recover attorney fees and costs.
G. For the purposes of this section, the term substantially burden is intended solely to ensure that this article is not triggered by trivial, technical or de minimis infractions.
H. For the purposes of this section, "state action" means any action, except for the requirements prescribed by section 41-1493.04, by the government or the implementation or application of any law, including state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations and policies, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether the implementation or application is made by the government or nongovernmental persons.