2017 Louisiana Laws
TITLE 13 - Courts and Judicial Procedure
RS 13:5232 - Legislative findings
§5232. Legislative findings
The legislature finds and declares that:
(1) Free exercise of religion is a fundamental right of the highest order in this state.
(2) In 1974, this legislature and the people of Louisiana chose to adopt the exact language found in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America regarding religious free exercise as Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution of Louisiana.
(3) At the time of adoption of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution of Louisiana, the United States Supreme Court interpreted the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America to provide the same level of protection for an action of the government that explicitly burdened religious exercise as for an action that indirectly burdened religious exercise through its effect. In both instances, the government had to show that it had a compelling interest in taking a particular action and that it was taking the action in a way that was least restrictive of a person's right to freely exercise his religious beliefs. This rule was set forth in the case of Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963), among other cases.
(4) It was the intent of the legislature and the people of Louisiana in 1974 to provide that level of protection to its citizens.
(5) In 1990, the United States Supreme Court, in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), reduced the protection available to persons in the exercise of their religious beliefs where a law was facially neutral or generally applicable by holding that the government need only give a rational basis for the action and need not supply the least restrictive means to achieve its goal.
(6) The courts of Louisiana have not adopted the standard set forth in Employment Division v. Smith. It was and continues to be the intent of this state that the protections afforded by the Sherbert case apply in Louisiana.
Acts 2010, No. 793, §1.