SJR 31 Proposes a constitutional amendment reaffirming a citizen's right to free expression of religion
Sponsor: Scott
LR Number: 3472S.01I Fiscal Note: 3472-01N.ORG
Committee: General Laws
Last Action: 5/14/2010 - S Informal Calendar S Bills for Perfection--SJR 31-Scott Journal Page:
Title: Calendar Position:
Effective Date: upon voter approval

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Current Bill Summary

SJR 31 - Upon voter approval, this constitutional amendment reaffirms a citizen's right to free expression of religion. The amendment specifies that individuals have the right to individual or group prayer in all private or public areas, as long as such prayer does not disturb the peace, disrupt a public meeting or assembly, or impede public access. Religious expression and prayer on government property is particularly allowed, so long as the expression or prayer abides within the same parameters placed upon any other free speech under similar circumstances.

The amendment also explicitly prohibits the establishment of any official state religion and any state coercion to participate in prayer or other religious activities.

The amendment specifically provides that the general assembly and other governing bodies of political subdivisions may have ministers, clergy persons, and other individuals offer invocations or prayers at meetings or sessions of the general assembly or other governing bodies.

The amendment also provides that students may engage in private and voluntary prayer, acknowledgment of God, or other religious expression, individually or in groups, and express their religious beliefs in school assignments without discrimination based on the religious content of their work. Students shall not be compelled to participate in academic assignments that violate their religious beliefs. All public schools are required to display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

This section of the constitution shall not be construed to expand the rights of prisoners in state or local custody beyond those afforded by the laws of the United States.

This act is similar to SCS/SJR 12 (2009), SS/HJR 11 (2009), HJR 55 (2008), and HJR 19 (2007).