Texas Occupational License RFRA (SB 17)
This law was last updated on Sep 19, 2019
SB 17 would allow private individuals employed in certain licensed occupations to deny services to people based on their sincerely held religious belief.
The bill would prohibit a state agency that issues a license or otherwise regulates a business, occupation, or profession from adopting any rule, regulation, or policy or imposing a penalty that:
- limits an applicant’s ability to obtain a license based on a sincerely held religious belief of the applicant; or
- burden an applicant’s or license holder’s:
- free exercise of religion, regardless of whether the burden is the result of a rule generally applicable to all applicants or license holders;
- freedom of speech regarding a sincerely held religious belief; or
- membership in any religious organization.
This would not apply to the licensing or regulation of peace officers by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
The bill clarifies that the state would not be prohibited from taking any action to ensure that the standard of care or practice for the applicable business, occupation, or profession is satisfied.
A license holder may not refuse to provide a medical service within the scope of the person’s license that is necessary to prevent death or imminent serious bodily injury.
A license holder may not limit any right, privilege, or protection granted to any person under the constitution and laws of the state and the United States.
The bill would allow a person to seek administrative or judicial relief for any rule or penalty in violation of this law.
Similar to SB 651, which failed to pass in 2017.
3/7/19 – Introduced.
4/3/19 – Passed the Senate in a 19-12 vote.