Feb 21, 2014 7:31 PM
Published: 21 February, 2014
Dear partners and visitors,
Many of you have called our office with questions about SB1062, the Religious Freedom Act currently sitting on the Governor's desk awaiting signature or veto. Visit Tucson has been in contact with different organizations including the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association to analyze next steps and the potential impact for our industry. If you are not aware of the content of this Bill, here are some basic points reported by AZ Central.com regarding what the bill proposes:
Expand the state's definition of the exercise of religion to include both the practice and observance of religion
Allow someone to assert a legal claim of free exercise of religion regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceedings
Expand those protected under the state's free exercise of religion law to "any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution or other business organization."
In order to assert a free exercise of religion defense, the individual, business or church must establish that their action is motivated by a religious belief, that the belief is sincerely held, and that the person's beliefs are substantially burdened.
A Bill like this will potentially lead to discrimination, and could result in groups being discouraged in conducting business in Arizona. Specifically we are concerned about, again, running the risk of organizations, individuals and businesses deciding not to visit or meet in Arizona.
You can email or call the Governor's office to voice your opinion on this potentially harmful piece of legislation.
If you are emailing the Governor please send it to the following address with copies to the staff noted below:
Governor Janice K. Brewer - 602-542-4331 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief of Staff Scott Smith - 602-542-1371 - email@example.com
Director of Policy Michael Hunter - 602-542-1371 - firstname.lastname@example.org
President & CEO
J. Felipe Garcia
Executive Vice President