Representative LaVar Christensen proposes the following substitute bill:




Chief Sponsor: LaVar Christensen

Senate Sponsor: Alvin B. Jackson


8     General Description:
9          This bill establishes the Religious Liberty Act.
10     Highlighted Provisions:
11          This bill:
12          ▸     adds religious liberty to the list of exceptions in the Governmental Immunity Act of
13     Utah;
14          ▸     establishes the Religious Liberty Act;
15          ▸     declares that the Act is in furtherance of the rights and protections provided under
16     the United States and Utah constitutions;
17          ▸     coordinates the application of the bill to other statutory provisions; and
18          ▸     permits a person or entity seeking relief under the Act to obtain judicial relief,
19     attorney fees, and costs for violations of that person's religious liberty.
20     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
21          None
22     Other Special Clauses:
23          None
24     Utah Code Sections Affected:
25     AMENDS:

26          63G-7-301, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2014, Chapter 145
27     ENACTS:
28          63G-19-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
29          63G-19-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
30          63G-19-103, Utah Code Annotated 1953
31          63G-19-104, Utah Code Annotated 1953
32          63G-19-105, Utah Code Annotated 1953

34     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
35          Section 1. Section 63G-7-301 is amended to read:
36          63G-7-301. Waivers of immunity -- Exceptions.
37          (1) (a) Immunity from suit of each governmental entity is waived as to any contractual
38     obligation.
39          (b) Actions arising out of contractual rights or obligations are not subject to the
40     requirements of Sections 63G-7-401, 63G-7-402, 63G-7-403, or 63G-7-601.
41          (c) The Division of Water Resources is not liable for failure to deliver water from a
42     reservoir or associated facility authorized by Title 73, Chapter 26, Bear River Development
43     Act, if the failure to deliver the contractual amount of water is due to drought, other natural
44     condition, or safety condition that causes a deficiency in the amount of available water.
45          (2) Immunity from suit of each governmental entity is waived:
46          (a) as to any action brought to recover, obtain possession of, or quiet title to real or
47     personal property;
48          (b) as to any action brought to foreclose mortgages or other liens on real or personal
49     property, to determine any adverse claim on real or personal property, or to obtain an
50     adjudication about any mortgage or other lien that the governmental entity may have or claim
51     on real or personal property;
52          (c) as to any action based on the negligent destruction, damage, or loss of goods,
53     merchandise, or other property while it is in the possession of any governmental entity or
54     employee, if the property was seized for the purpose of forfeiture under any provision of state
55     law;
56          (d) subject to Subsection 63G-7-302(1), as to any action brought under the authority of

57     Article I, Section 22, of the Utah Constitution, for the recovery of compensation from the
58     governmental entity when the governmental entity has taken or damaged private property for
59     public uses without just compensation;
60          (e) subject to Subsection 63G-7-302(2), as to any action brought to recover attorney
61     fees under Sections 63G-2-405 and 63G-2-802;
62          (f) for actual damages under Title 67, Chapter 21, Utah Protection of Public Employees
63     Act; [or]
64          (g) as to any action brought to obtain relief from a land use regulation that imposes a
65     substantial burden on the free exercise of religion under Title 63L, Chapter 5, Utah Religious
66     Land Use Act[.]; or
67          (h) as to any action brought to obtain relief from governmental action under Title 63G,
68     Chapter 19, Religious Liberty Act.
69          (3) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (3)(b), immunity from suit of each
70     governmental entity is waived as to any injury caused by:
71          (i) a defective, unsafe, or dangerous condition of any highway, road, street, alley,
72     crosswalk, sidewalk, culvert, tunnel, bridge, viaduct, or other structure located on them; or
73          (ii) any defective or dangerous condition of a public building, structure, dam, reservoir,
74     or other public improvement.
75          (b) Immunity from suit of each governmental entity is not waived if the injury arises
76     out of, in connection with, or results from:
77          (i) a latent dangerous or latent defective condition of any highway, road, street, alley,
78     crosswalk, sidewalk, culvert, tunnel, bridge, viaduct, or other structure located on them; or
79          (ii) a latent dangerous or latent defective condition of any public building, structure,
80     dam, reservoir, or other public improvement.
81          (4) Immunity from suit of each governmental entity is waived as to any injury
82     proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of an employee committed within the scope
83     of employment.
84          (5) Immunity from suit of each governmental entity is not waived under Subsections
85     (3) and (4) if the injury arises out of, in connection with, or results from:
86          (a) the exercise or performance, or the failure to exercise or perform, a discretionary
87     function, whether or not the discretion is abused;

88          (b) assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, intentional
89     trespass, abuse of process, libel, slander, deceit, interference with contract rights, infliction of
90     mental anguish, or violation of civil rights;
91          (c) the issuance, denial, suspension, or revocation of, or by the failure or refusal to
92     issue, deny, suspend, or revoke, any permit, license, certificate, approval, order, or similar
93     authorization;
94          (d) a failure to make an inspection or by making an inadequate or negligent inspection;
95          (e) the institution or prosecution of any judicial or administrative proceeding, even if
96     malicious or without probable cause;
97          (f) a misrepresentation by an employee whether or not it is negligent or intentional;
98          (g) riots, unlawful assemblies, public demonstrations, mob violence, and civil
99     disturbances;
100          (h) the collection of and assessment of taxes;
101          (i) the activities of the Utah National Guard;
102          (j) the incarceration of any person in any state prison, county or city jail, or other place
103     of legal confinement;
104          (k) any natural condition on publicly owned or controlled lands;
105          (l) any condition existing in connection with an abandoned mine or mining operation;
106          (m) any activity authorized by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration
107     or the Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands;
108          (n) the operation or existence of a pedestrian or equestrian trail that is along a ditch,
109     canal, stream, or river, regardless of ownership or operation of the ditch, canal, stream, or river,
110     if:
111          (i) the trail is designated under a general plan adopted by a municipality under Section
112     10-9a-401 or by a county under Section 17-27a-401;
113          (ii) the trail right-of-way or the right-of-way where the trail is located is open to public
114     use as evidenced by a written agreement between the owner or operator of the trail
115     right-of-way, or of the right-of-way where the trail is located, and the municipality or county
116     where the trail is located; and
117          (iii) the written agreement:
118          (A) contains a plan for operation and maintenance of the trail; and

119          (B) provides that an owner or operator of the trail right-of-way or of the right-of-way
120     where the trail is located has, at minimum, the same level of immunity from suit as the
121     governmental entity in connection with or resulting from the use of the trail.
122          (o) research or implementation of cloud management or seeding for the clearing of fog;
123          (p) the management of flood waters, earthquakes, or natural disasters;
124          (q) the construction, repair, or operation of flood or storm systems;
125          (r) the operation of an emergency vehicle, while being driven in accordance with the
126     requirements of Section 41-6a-212;
127          (s) the activities of:
128          (i) providing emergency medical assistance;
129          (ii) fighting fire;
130          (iii) regulating, mitigating, or handling hazardous materials or hazardous wastes;
131          (iv) emergency evacuations;
132          (v) transporting or removing injured persons to a place where emergency medical
133     assistance can be rendered or where the person can be transported by a licensed ambulance
134     service; or
135          (vi) intervening during dam emergencies;
136          (t) the exercise or performance, or the failure to exercise or perform, any function
137     pursuant to Title 73, Chapter 10, Board of Water Resources - Division of Water Resources;
138          (u) unauthorized access to government records, data, or electronic information systems
139     by any person or entity; or
140          (v) injury related to the activity of wildlife, as defined in Section 23-13-2, that arises
141     during the use of a public or private road.
142          Section 2. Section 63G-19-101 is enacted to read:

144          63G-19-101. Title.
145          This chapter is known as the "Religious Liberty Act."
146          Section 3. Section 63G-19-102 is enacted to read:
147          63G-19-102. Definitions.
148          As used in this chapter, "person" means:
149          (1) an individual;

150          (2) a closely held business or entity;
151          (3) a religious institution;
152          (4) a religious institution's wholly or partially owned subsidiary or affiliate;
153          (5) a representative of a religious institution;
154          (6) an entity that is recognized under applicable law as an expressive association; or
155          (7) an independent education institution or association that holds and expresses sincere
156     and honest religious or moral principles and values that are essential to its existence and
157     operation.
158          Section 4. Section 63G-19-103 is enacted to read:
159          63G-19-103. Constitutional religious liberty.
160          (1) Religious liberty is an inherent, inalienable, and natural right of mankind. It is
161     expressly recognized and guaranteed in the United States and state constitutions.
162          (2) The citizens of the state affirm and seek to preserve the right of all people to freely
163     choose and practice their own faith and religious beliefs or none at all and to be free from
164     government acts that deny or exclude the rightful and lawful expression and exercise of
165     religious liberty in private or public life.
166          (3) The affirmation of religious liberty afforded by this chapter is in furtherance of
167     those provided under the constitutions of this state and the United States. As expressly
168     provided since statehood in Utah Constitution, Article III, Section 1, perfect toleration of
169     religious sentiment is guaranteed, as expressly provided in Utah Constitution, Article I, Section
170     4, rights of conscience shall never be infringed, and in Utah Constitution, Article IV, Section 1,
171     all citizens of this state shall enjoy equally all civil, political, and religious rights and
172     privileges. There is a substantial public and government interest in protecting order and
173     morality.
174          (4) The lawful and proper expression and exercise of religious liberty and rights of
175     conscience recognized and protected in the constitutions of the state and the United States and
176     this chapter do not constitute nor shall they be applied in such manner as would result in
177     wrongful discrimination under other laws and statutory protections, including Title 34A,
178     Chapter 5, Utah Antidiscrimination Act, and Title 57, Chapter 21, Utah Fair Housing Act.
179          Section 5. Section 63G-19-104 is enacted to read:
180          63G-19-104. Application of chapter to certain provisions.

181          (1) The state fully and independently reserves and affirms all rights and powers of state
182     sovereignty, including the state's rights and powers regarding all domestic relations laws, and
183     as provided in Section 63G-16-101, and as are adopted by the Legislature and the citizens of
184     this state.
185          (2) This chapter is consistent with rights of conscientious objection applied elsewhere
186     in Utah law, including a health care facility or health care provider based on religious or moral
187     grounds as recognized and provided under Section 76-7-306.
188          (3) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the granting of government
189     funding, benefits, or exemptions, to the extent permissible under the Establishment Clause of
190     the United States Constitution or Utah Constitution, Article I, Section 4.
191          Section 6. Section 63G-19-105 is enacted to read:
192          63G-19-105. Judicial relief.
193          A person whose lawful and proper exercise of religious liberty is substantially burdened
194     in violation of this chapter may obtain appropriate relief in a judicial proceeding, including
195     recovery of reasonable attorney fees and costs.