Bill Summaries: S550 (2015-2016 Session)

  • Summary date: Mar 26 2015 - View summary

    Identical to H 348, filed 3/24/15.

    Adds new Article 9, The North Carolina Religious Freedom Restoration Act, to GS Chapter 147.

    Prohibits state action from burdening a person's right to exercise of religion unless applying the burden to that person's exercise of religion in this particular instance: (1) is essential to further a compelling governmental interest and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. Defines burden as any action that constrains, inhibits, curtails, or denies the exercise of religion by any person or compels any action contrary to a person's exercise of religion, and includes withholding benefits; assessing criminal, civil, or administrative penalties; or exclusion from governmental programs or access to governmental facilities.  Defines additional terms used in the Article. Allows a person whose exercise of religion has been burdened, or is likely to be burdened, to assert such violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or one of its political subdivisions is a party to the proceeding. Allows the person asserting such a claim or defense to obtain appropriate relief and specifies what that relief may include. 

    Includes a severability clause.

    Applies to cases, actions, and causes of action for which the trial court had not entered final judgment as of the date that the act becomes law.