Mark Yapching, Georgia senator vows to resurrect state religious freedom bill in 2016, Society

A senator for the state of Georgia promised to revive a religious freedom bill he previously sponsored once the state legislative body reconvenes in January 2016.

Columbus Republican Sen. Josh McKoon told Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer on “A Closer Look” that he is going to push his Religious Freedom Restoration Act once the state’s General Assembly of legislators returns to session in January 2016.

According to Bloomberg, McKoon’s bill passed the Senate of Georgia in March with 37 senators in favour of passing the bill, while 15 objected. However, the bill failed to pass in the Georgia House of Representatives after moderate Republican congressmen and Democrat representatives moved to add an anti-discrimination amendment. McKoon and the other sponsors of the bill refused to accept the amendment, effectively stalling the bill’s passage.

McKoon told Bloomberg that the amendment was going to “render the underlying bill meaningless.”

The Georgia House adjourned on April 2 without submitting McKoon’s bill to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal for signing.

According to WABE, McKoon told a “A Closer Look” that he will continue to push for the original language of his bill. He also said that he is not worried about a possible backlash in the absence of an anti-discrimination amendment that was added to the earlier Acts passed by the states of Indiana and Arkansas.

This is because his bill is more faithful to the 1993 federal RFRA, which stated that the government “should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification.”.

“I think what we need to do is stick to the federal language,” McKoon said during the interview.

Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in Indiana and Arkansas received a significant amount of backlash after opponents in both states claimed that the laws could be used by companies and businesses to discriminate against groups that go against their religious beliefs, including the LGBT community.

Both Indiana State Governor Mike Pence and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison requested an anti-discrimination amendment to their respective Acts.

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