HOUSE BILL No. 1152
DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL
Citations Affected: IC 34-13-8.
Synopsis: Religious freedom restoration act. Allows the executive
branch of state government or a political subdivision to substantially
burden a person's exercise of religion only if the governmental entity
can demonstrate the application of the burden is: (1) essential to further
a compelling governmental interest; and (2) the least restrictive means
of imposing the burden. Allows a person to assert as a claim or defense
that a governmental entity has substantially burdened the exercise of
religion. Allows reasonable costs and attorney's fees to a person who
prevails in asserting the claim or defense. Allows a court, upon finding
that a person filed a frivolous or fraudulent claim or defense, to enjoin
the person from filing further claims or defenses.
Effective: July 1, 2007.
January 11, 2007, read first time and referred to Committee on Public Policy.
First Regular Session 115th General Assembly (2007)
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between statutes enacted by the 2006 Regular Session of the General Assembly.
HOUSE BILL No. 1152
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning civil
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:
SOURCE: IC 34-13-8; (07)IN1152.1.1. -->
SECTION 1. IC 34-13-8 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS
A NEW CHAPTER TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY
Chapter 8. Religious Freedom Restoration Act
Sec. 1. This chapter may not be construed to:
(1) authorize a governmental entity to burden any religious
(2) affect, interpret, or in any way address the parts of the
Constitution of the State of Indiana and the Constitution of
the United States that prohibit laws respecting the
establishment of religion.
However, granting governmental funds, benefits, or exemptions
may not be construed to be a violation of this chapter.
Sec. 2. As used in this chapter, "demonstrates" means meeting
(1) of going forward with the evidence; and
(2) of persuasion;
under the standard of clear and convincing evidence.
Sec. 3. As used in this chapter, "exercise of religion" means the
exercise of religion under any of the following:
(1) First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
(2) Constitution of the State of Indiana, Article 1, Section 2.
(3) Constitution of the State of Indiana, Article 1, Section 3.
(4) Constitution of the State of Indiana, Article 1, Section 4.
(5) Constitution of the State of Indiana, Article 1, Section 5.
(6) Constitution of the State of Indiana, Article 1, Section 6.
(7) Constitution of the State of Indiana, Article 1, Section 7.
Sec. 4. As used in this chapter, "fraudulent claim or defense"
means a claim or defense that is:
(1) dishonest in fact; or
(2) made principally for a patently improper purpose, such as
to harass an opposing party.
Sec. 5. As used in this chapter, "frivolous claim or defense"
means a claim or defense that:
(1) completely lacks merit under existing law; and
(2) cannot be supported by a good faith argument for the
extension, modification, or reversal of an existing law or the
establishment of a new law.
Sec. 6. As used in this chapter, "governmental entity" means
any of the following:
(1) A department, an agency, or an instrumentality of the
executive branch of state government.
(2) An official or other person acting under color of state law.
(3) A political subdivision (as defined in IC 36-1-2-13).
Sec. 7. As used in this chapter, "granting", with respect to
governmental funding, benefits, or exemptions, does not include the
denial of governmental funding, benefits, or exemptions.
Sec. 8. As used in this chapter, "prevails" means to obtain
prevailing party status, as defined by the courts construing the
federal Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Awards Act of 1976 (42 U.S.C.
Sec. 9. As used in this chapter, "substantially burden" means to
inhibit or curtail religiously motivated practice.
Sec. 10. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), a governmental
entity may not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion
even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.
(b) A governmental entity may substantially burden a person's
exercise of religion if the governmental entity demonstrates that
application of the burden to the person is:
(1) essential to further a compelling governmental interest;
(2) the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling
Sec. 11. (a) A person whose exercise of religion has been
burdened in violation of section 10 of this chapter may assert the
violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or an administrative
(b) A person asserting a claim or defense against a
governmental entity under subsection (a) may obtain:
(1) declaratory relief;
(2) monetary damages; or
(3) both declaratory relief and monetary damages;
as may properly be awarded by the court or administrative body
in which the claim or defense is asserted.
(c) This subsection does not apply to criminal proceedings. A
person who prevails in a claim or defense asserted against a
governmental entity under subsection (a) may recover the person's
reasonable costs and attorney's fees.
(d) Standing to assert a claim or defense under subsection (a) is
governed by the general rules of standing applicable to other
claims and defenses that may be asserted in the judicial or
administrative proceeding in which the claim or defense is
Sec. 12. A person found by a court or an administrative body to
have abused the protections of sections 10 and 11 of this chapter by
filing a frivolous claim or defense or a fraudulent claim or defense
in the proceeding may be:
(1) assessed the governmental entity's court costs, if any; and
(2) enjoined from filing further claims or defenses under this
chapter without the approval of a court or an administrative
SOURCE: ; (07)IN1152.1.2. -->
SECTION 2. [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2007] IC 34-13-8, as added
by this act, applies to all proceedings commenced after June 30,
2007, and all proceedings pending on July 1, 2007.