California Senator introduces Senate Bill 397, requiring governor to treat religious services as essential in emergencies
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – California State Senator Brian Jones, 38th Senate District (R-Santee) introduced the “Religion is Essential Act” or Senate Bill 397 on Feb. 12.
“Americans are guaranteed religious freedom and the right to congregate with fellow members at their chosen house of worship,” stated Senator Jones.
More specifically, Senate Bill 397 would:
- Require that the Governor and local governments treat religious services as an essential service (just like retail) during any declared state of emergency
- Prohibit the state and local governments from discriminating against a religious organization during an emergency
- Require the state and local governments to permit religious services to continue operating during an emergency
- Prohibit the state and local governments from enforcing a health, safety or occupancy requirement that imposes a substantial burden on a religious service during an emergency;
- Allow a religious organization that has been subject to state or local government overreach to file a claim for relief in an administrative or judicial proceeding.
SB 397 also cites multiple court decisions dealing with religious freedom and scientific evidence on the role religion plays in American life.
None other than Senator Brian Jones himself joined KUSI to discuss SB 397.