church and state hi res_newWritten by Don Byrd

As I wrote in my 2014 religious liberty year in review, the issue of religious accommodation was a central church-state theme throughout the year’s headlines. Several states responded to new questions of religious accommodation with legislative proposals mirroring (to varying degrees) the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

News stories during the last week indicate this trend may continue in 2015.

In Georgia, a RFRA effort that failed last year is being revived. The Marietta Daily Journal reports that Representative Sam Teasley plans to reintroduce the measure in the new legislative session. Last year, the Baptist Joint Committee urged the state’s lawmakers to reject the bill because of its significant departure from its federal counterpart.

In Indiana, lawmakers are preparing to debate a state RFRA there as well. Associated Press reports the “bill’s precise wording is still being fine-tuned.”

Many states have enacted RFRA laws in the last several years. 2015 could be the year many others follow suit. But will these states stray from the careful balance achieved in the federal RFRA law? Stay tuned.