2015 House Bill 1220 - Printed

State of South Dakota  
NINETIETH SESSION
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, 2015  

578W0654   HOUSE BILL   NO.  1220  

Introduced by:    Representatives Craig, Beal, Bolin, Brunner, Campbell, Deutsch, DiSanto, Greenfield (Lana), Haggar (Don), Harrison, Heinemann (Leslie), Hunt, Kaiser, Marty, Novstrup (Al), Partridge, Ring, Schaefer, Solum, Verchio, Wiik, Willadsen, Wollmann, and Zikmund and Senators Greenfield (Brock), Bradford, Haggar (Jenna), Haverly, Jensen (Phil), Novstrup (David), Olson, Otten (Ernie), Rampelberg, and Rave
 

        FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to provide for the free exercise of religion and to declare an emergency.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
    Section 1. Terms used in this Act mean:
            (1)    "Burden," any action that directly or indirectly 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; excluding from governmental programs; or denying access to governmental facilities;
            (2)    "Compelling governmental interest," a governmental interest of the highest magnitude that cannot otherwise be achieved without burdening the exercise of religion and may include protecting health and safety;
            (3)    "Exercise of religion," the practice or observance of religion, including the ability to

act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a person's sincerely held religious beliefs, whether the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religions belief;

            (4)    "Person," any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious institution, estate, trust, foundation, or other legal entity;
            (5)    "State action," the implementation or application of any law, including state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations, and policies, or other action by the State of South Dakota or any political subdivisions thereof, and any local government, municipality, instrumentality, or public official authorized by law in the state.
    Section 2. No state action may burden a person's right to exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to that person's exercise of religion in a particular instance:
            (1)    Is essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and
            (2)    Is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
    Section 3. A person whose exercise of religion has been burdened, or is likely to be burdened, in violation of this Act may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the State of South Dakota or one of its political subdivisions is a party to the proceeding. The person asserting the claim or defense may obtain appropriate relief, including relief against the state or its political subdivisions. Appropriate relief includes injunctive relief, declaratory relief, compensatory damages, and costs and attorneys fees.
    Section 4. Nothing in this Act may be construed to:
            (1)    Allow any person to cause physical injury to another person, including a minor child;
            (2)    Give rise to a defense in any action involving criminal sexual conduct against another

person, including a minor child; or

            (3)    Give rise to a defense in any action involving criminal prosecution for bigamy, unless bigamy is authorized by the Legislature.
    Section 5. Whereas, this Act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, and this Act shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage and approval.