“There is already a RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] bill that was introduced in 2017 in the Senate, and all of that legislation remains live and active. We may see something that is reintroduced, we may see movement on the current RFRA bill,” Graham said. “Certainly the fact that the Speaker has indicated in his public comments that he feels there is no need to address that issue in 2018 gives us some comfort there.”
Georgia’s conservative leadership, led in part by McKoon, has been pushing for a religious exemptions bill for years, most notably when House Bill 757 made it to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk. The governor vetoed the bill, and in 2017 neither chamber made religious exemptions a priority. Despite that, Sen. Marty Harbin (R-Tyrone) introduced Senate Bill 233, which intends to incorporate federal religious exemptions language into state law by reference.
“He offered a clean, state version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I have certainly continued to advocate for the passage of that bill,” McKoon said.
A prime discussion point surrounding religious exemptions legislation is how it would affect Georgia’s chances of attracting the new Amazon headquarters should such a law hit the books in the Peach State.
“I do believe that for a majority of conservatives, they understand that there is so much on the line and it would result in huge economic losses,” Shannon said.
Fight continues for comprehensive non-discrimination bill