California Gov. Jerry Brown Stands Behind Constitutional Rights with Signing of California Religious Freedom Act
On October 15 of 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the California Religious Freedom Act of a bipartisan effort supported by both Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature to uphold the values of the Constitution by celebrating our right to total religious freedom.
The bill, initially authored and put forward by State Sen. Ricardo Lara, had gained a tremendous amount of momentum in the months leading up to this signing, with both political parties reaching across the aisle in firm agreement to make sure that the rights outlined by the U.S. Constitution were being honored in the great state of California.
This new piece of legislature guarantees that California state agencies will no longer be able to share any digital or non-digital data or information with the US federal government that could be leveraged in any way, shape, or form to form a registry of individuals based on information pertaining to religion, originating nation, or ethnicity.
In trying political times, where Democrats and Republicans agree on just about no issues whatsoever, this new piece of legislation was able to garner near unanimous support in the California State Legislature. There were only 2 dissenting votes in total, showing just how serious California is about making sure that their residents are protected and that they can all enjoy and practice a religion of their choice with no fear of reprisals or discrimination.
The author of the bill, Sen. Lara, talked about the importance of being founded on a backbone of religious tolerance and religious freedom.
Our great nation is great because of the content of each individual’s character and not because of their individual religious beliefs. He went on to talk about the importance of respecting our constitutional rights for religious freedom, and how pleased he was that almost everyone in the state legislature was able to come together – over their differences when it comes to politics – and recognize just how special a right this is.
More than 200 different organizations representing dozens and dozens of different religions came forward to support this bill, and the state senators on all sides of the political spectrum heard their voices.
In the future, thanks to this legislation no state/local agency will be able to use any funds, technology, or other resources whatsoever to assist in the formation of any programs designed to track individuals based on their religion as well as a handful of other self-identifying and constitutionally protected factors.
On top of that, all state/local law enforcement agencies are totally banned from recording information regarding individual religious beliefs, except under very specific and extreme circumstances where the information is immediately relevant.
It is important to highlight that the new law does nothing to prevent state and local agencies from putting together aggregate and nonpersonal data about religion, originating nation, or ethnicity or exchanging this non-personally identifying information with local, state, or federal authorities.