Substitute House Bill No. 5645
          Substitute House Bill No. 5645

              PUBLIC ACT NO. 93-252

AN ACT CONCERNING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.


    (NEW)   (a)   The   state   or  any  political
subdivision  of  the  state  shall  not  burden  a
person's  exercise  of religion under section 3 of
article first of the  constitution  of  the  state
even  if the burden results from a rule of general
applicability, except as  provided  in  subsection
(b) of this section.
    (b)  The state or any political subdivision of
the  state  may  burden  a  person's  exercise  of
religion  only if it demonstrates that application
of the burden to the person (1) is in  furtherance
of  a compelling governmental interest, and (2) is
the least restrictive  means  of  furthering  that
compelling governmental interest.
    (c)  A  person  whose exercise of religion has
been burdened in violation of  the  provisions  of
this  section may assert that violation as a claim
or defense in a  judicial  proceeding  and  obtain
appropriate   relief  against  the  state  or  any
political subdivision of the state.
    (d)   Nothing   in   this   section  shall  be
construed to authorize the state or any  political
subdivision  of  the state to burden any religious
belief.
    (e) Nothing in this section shall be construed
to affect, interpret  or  in  any way address that
portion of article  seventh of the constitution of
the  state  that   prohibits   any  law  giving  a
preference   to   any    religious    society   or
denomination  in  the   state.   The  granting  of
government funding, benefits or exemptions, to the
extent permissible under  the  constitution of the
state, shall not  constitute  a  violation of this
section. As used  in  this  subsection,  the  term
"granting"  does  not   include   the   denial  of
government funding, benefits or exemptions.
    (f)  For  the purposes of this section, "state
or  any  political  subdivision  of   the   state"
includes    any    agency,    board,   commission,
department, officer or employee of  the  state  or
any   political  subdivision  of  the  state,  and
"demonstrates" means meets the  burdens  of  going
forward with the evidence and of persuasion.