One bill I did not like to see die was the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Over 61 percent of the population of the United States lives in a state with this type of law in place. The purpose of the bill was to restore religious freedom in Iowa to the same standard that prevailed in our country from its founding until 1990. In that same year the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the application of the First Amendment. In 1993, the U.S. Congress passed the first RFRA to restore the original standard and it remains in place today. However, in 1996 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal RFRA applied only to federal government. Since that time, twenty-one states have passed a state version of RFRA to apply to state governments. Eight more states have ruled in court to abide by the same high standard before infringing on a person’s free exercise of religion. Iowa has lagged behind in passing this legislation, especially in today’s environment. RFRA was not brought forward in committee because there is no path to get it passed in both chambers.
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