SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today Governor Brown joined Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature in support of our core Constitutional values by signing the California Religious Freedom Act (Senate Bill 31), authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). The urgency clause included in this bill means that this bill becomes law today.
The law prevents California agencies from sharing data with the federal government that could be used to compile a registry based on religion, national origin or ethnicity.
The California Legislature passed the California Religious Freedom Act nearly unanimously with just two dissenting votes.
“America was founded on the freedom of religion and the conviction that what mattered was the content of your character not your religious beliefs,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “The California Religious Freedom Act takes a stand against religious bigotry and exclusion, and I am proud to join Governor Brown and my fellow legislators in defense of America’s constitutional values.”
Senator Lara introduced the California Religious Freedom Act in December 2016 in response to President Trump, who called for a national registry of Muslim Americans as a candidate and after his election.
The law has the support of nearly 200 groups and individuals representing diverse communities.
Under the California 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.