Arkansas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Act 975)
This law was last updated on Dec 12, 2016
Act 975 prohibits the government from burdening a person’s freedom of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability unless the government demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest, and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
The amendment states that a person whose religious freedom has been burdened in violation of the amendment may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government.
The amendment does not allow religious freedom to be raised as a defense in lawsuits between private citizens and therefore tracks the federal RFRA.
Similar to HB 1228, which was passed by the House and Senate and sent to the governor before being recalled due to a public outcry regarding the bill’s provision which would have permitted religious freedom to be raised as a defense in a lawsuit between private citizens.