Current Law: R.S.Mo. § 1.302-.307

Enacted: July 9, 2003

§ 1.302. Religious freedom restoration act

  • 1.  A governmental authority may not restrict a person’s free exercise of religion, unless:
    • (1)  The restriction is in the form of a rule of general applicability, and does not discriminate against religion, or among religions; and
    • (2)  The governmental authority demonstrates that application of the restriction to the person is essential to further a compelling governmental interest, and is not unduly restrictive considering the relevant circumstances.
  • 2.  As used in this section, “exercise of religion” shall be defined as an act or refusal to act that is substantially motivated by religious belief, whether or not the religious exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
  • 3.  As used in this section “demonstrates” means meets the burden of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.

§ 1.307. Laws not to eliminate defense to a civil action or criminal prosecution based on federal, state or local civil rights — relevant circumstances defined

  • 1.  Section 1.302 and this section apply to all state and local laws, resolutions and ordinances and the implementation of such laws, resolutions, and ordinances, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether adopted before or after August 28, 2003.
  • 2.  Nothing in section 1.302 and this section shall be construed to authorize any government to burden any religious belief, except that nothing in these sections shall be construed to establish or eliminate a defense to a civil action or criminal prosecution based on a federal, state, or local civil rights law.
  • 3.  Nothing in section 1.302 and this section shall be construed as allowing any person to cause physical injury to another person, to possess a weapon otherwise prohibited by law, to fail to provide monetary support for a child or to fail to provide health care for a child suffering from a life-threatening condition.
  • 4.  “Relevant circumstances” may include legitimate penological interests needed to protect the safety and security of incarcerated persons and correctional facilities, but shall not include reasonable requests by incarcerated individuals for the opportunity to pray, reasonable access to clergy, use of religious materials that are not violent or profane, and reasonable dietary requests.

Pending Religion Bill

2015 Pending Legislation

Missouri H.B. 0104 (View PDF)

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

Section A. Chapter 173, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto two new sections, to be known as sections 173.1555 and 173.1560, to read as follows:

173.1555. As used in sections 173.1555 and 173.1560, the following terms shall mean:

(1) “Benefit”, recognition, registration, the use of facilities of the public institution

of higher learning for meetings or speaking purposes, the use of channels of communication of the public institution of higher learning and the use of funding sources that are otherwise available to other student associations in the public institution of higher learning;

(2) “Exercise of religion”, the practice or observance of religion as specified by state law and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution;

(3) “Public institution of higher learning”, any state postsecondary educational institution governed or supervised by a board erected under chapter 172, 174, 175, or 178, a board of trustees of a community college, or any state board for any other technical school;

(4) “Substantially burden”, an action by a public institution of higher learning which directly or indirectly:

(a) Constrains or inhibits conduct or expression that reflects a student’s sincerely held religious beliefs; held religious belief or not to engage in conduct or expression motivated by a sincerely held religious belief.
(b) Denies a student an opportunity to engage in religious activities; or

(c) Pressures a student to engage in conduct or expression contrary to a sincerely

173.1560. 1. No public institution of higher learning shall take any action or

enforce any policy that denies a religious student association any benefit available to any other student association, or discriminate against a religious student association with respect to such benefit, based on that association’s requirement that its leaders or members adhere to the association’s sincerely held religious beliefs, comply with the association’s sincere religious observance requirements, comply with the association’s sincere religious
standards of conduct, or be committed to furthering the association’s religious missions as such beliefs, requirements, standards, or missions are defined by the association or religion upon which the association is based.

2. No public institution of higher learning shall substantially burden a student’s exercise of religion except if it is in furtherance of a compelling interest of the public institution of higher learning, actually furthers that interest, and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.

3. Any student or religious student association that has been aggrieved as a result of a violation of subsection 1 or 2 of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding against the public institution of higher learning and obtain appropriate relief, including damages, against that institution.

Source: Missouri legislature

Previously Introduced

2014: View PDF: 2014 Introduced Religion Bill (SB 916)


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