California Senate Overwhelmingly Approves Senator Lara’s Religious Freedom Act

April 03, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today the California Senate resoundingly approved the California Religious Freedom Act (Senate Bill 31) by a bipartisan vote of 36-0. Senate Bill 31 will prevent California agencies from sharing data that could be used to compile a federal registry based on religion, national origin or ethnicity.

“Targeting people by religion violates the California Constitution and the U.S. Constitution and I’m not going to wait for President Trump before we take action,” said Sen. Lara. “California has a strong tradition of protecting people’s religion and privacy, and California should not take part in infringing on religious liberty by aiding in the creation of a religious registry. SB 31 promotes religious freedom and ensures that California is protecting basic civil and human rights for all.”

Then-candidate Donald Trump proposed a Muslim registry, and he has not backed away from the proposal since his election.

The California Religious Freedom Act has the support of nearly 200 groups and individuals representing diverse communities.

Under the Religious Freedom Act, state and local agencies cannot use agency money, equipment, or other resources to assist in the creation of any government program compiling a database based on religion, national origin or ethnicity.

Additionally, state and local law enforcement are prohibited from collecting information about an individual’s religious beliefs or affiliations except under specified circumstances.

SB 31 does not prevent any state or local agency from compiling aggregate, non-personal information about religion, national origin, or ethnicity or from exchanging it with other local, state, or federal agencies.

Click here to read the California Religious Freedom Act (SB31).