Source: The Associated Press
On February 22, 2003 The Associated Press reported that "a proposed Religious Freedom Restoration Act failed... to win House approval amid doubts it was necessary and worries it would stick state and local agencies with big legal bills... The measure would make it easier for individuals and groups to prevail in court when they challenge state or local actions restricting religious activities. After a successful challenge, a group or individual would have their legal expenses covered... The House vote was 61-59, but supporters needed to muster 63, a majority in the 125-member chamber. The bill won’t be revived unless it resurfaces as an amendment to other bills later in the session... The measure is patterned after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was struck down six years ago. (Although the federal law no longer applies to state governments, it still applies to the federal government.) The bill says state and local governments 'shall not substantially burden a person’s or group’s exercise of religion' — even with a law or rule unrelated to religion. Anyone aggrieved by a government action could challenge it in court."