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Pub.L. 106-275 Making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year 2001, and for other purposes. <> ...


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Public Law 106-274
106th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To protect religious liberty, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Sept. 22, 
                          2000 -  [S. 2869]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress <<NOTE: Religious Land Use and 
Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.>> assembled,

SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 42 USC 2000cc note.>> SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Religious Land Use and 
Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000''.

SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 42 USC 2000cc.>> PROTECTION OF LAND USE AS RELIGIOUS 
            EXERCISE.

    (a) Substantial Burdens.--
            (1) General rule.--No government shall impose or implement a 
        land use regulation in a manner that imposes a substantial 
        burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a 
        religious assembly or institution, unless the government 
        demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person, 
        assembly, or institution--
                    (A) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental 
                interest; and
                    (B) is the least restrictive means of furthering 
                that compelling governmental interest.
            (2) Scope of application.--This subsection applies in any 
        case in which--
                    (A) the substantial burden is imposed in a program 
                or activity that receives Federal financial assistance, 
                even if the burden results from a rule of general 
                applicability;
                    (B) the substantial burden affects, or removal of 
                that substantial burden would affect, commerce with 
                foreign nations, among the several States, or with 
                Indian tribes, even if the burden results from a rule of 
                general applicability; or
                    (C) the substantial burden is imposed in the 
                implementation of a land use regulation or system of 
                land use regulations, under which a government makes, or 
                has in place formal or informal procedures or practices 
                that permit the government to make, individualized 
                assessments of the proposed uses for the property 
                involved.

    (b) Discrimination and Exclusion.--
            (1) Equal terms.--No government shall impose or implement a 
        land use regulation in a manner that treats a religious assembly 
        or institution on less than equal terms with a nonreligious 
        assembly or institution.
            (2) Nondiscrimination.--No government shall impose or 
        implement a land use regulation that discriminates against any 
        assembly or institution on the basis of religion or religious 
        denomination.
            (3) Exclusions and limits.--No government shall impose or 
        implement a land use regulation that--
                    (A) totally excludes religious assemblies from a 
                jurisdiction; or
                    (B) unreasonably limits religious assemblies, 
                institutions, or structures within a jurisdiction.
SEC. 3. <<NOTE: 42 USC 2000cc-1.>> PROTECTION OF RELIGIOUS 
                    EXERCISE OF INSTITUTIONALIZED PERSONS.

    (a) General Rule.--No government shall impose a substantial burden 
on the religious exercise of a person residing in or confined to an 
institution, as defined in section 2 of the Civil Rights of 
Institutionalized Persons Act (42 U.S.C. 1997), even if the burden 
results from a rule of general applicability, unless the government 
demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person--
            (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; 
        and
            (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that 
        compelling governmental interest.

    (b) Scope of Application.--This section applies in any case in 
which--
            (1) the substantial burden is imposed in a program or 
        activity that receives Federal financial assistance; or
            (2) the substantial burden affects, or removal of that 
        substantial burden would affect, commerce with foreign nations, 
        among the several States, or with Indian tribes.

SEC. 4. <<NOTE: 42 USC 2000cc-2.>> JUDICIAL RELIEF.

    (a) Cause of Action.--A person may assert a violation of this Act as 
a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate 
relief against a government. Standing to assert a claim or defense under 
this section shall be governed by the general rules of standing under 
article III of the Constitution.
    (b) Burden of Persuasion.--If a plaintiff produces prima facie 
evidence to support a claim alleging a violation of the Free Exercise 
Clause or a violation of section 2, the government shall bear the burden 
of persuasion on any element of the claim, except that the plaintiff 
shall bear the burden of persuasion on whether the law (including a 
regulation) or government practice that is challenged by the claim 
substantially burdens the plaintiff's exercise of religion.
    (c) Full Faith and Credit.--Adjudication of a claim of a violation 
of section 2 in a non-Federal forum shall not be entitled to full faith 
and credit in a Federal court unless the claimant had a full and fair 
adjudication of that claim in the non-Federal forum.
    (d) Attorneys' Fees.--Section 722(b) of the Revised Statutes (42 
U.S.C. 1988(b)) is amended--
            (1) by inserting ``the Religious Land Use and 
        Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000,'' after ``Religious 
        Freedom Restoration Act of 1993,''; and
            (2) by striking the comma that follows a comma.

    (e) Prisoners.--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to amend or 
repeal the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (including provisions of 
law amended by that Act).
    (f) Authority of United States To Enforce This Act.--The United 
States may bring an action for injunctive or declaratory relief to 
enforce compliance with this Act. Nothing in this subsection shall be 
construed to deny, impair, or otherwise affect any right or authority of 
the Attorney General, the United States, or any agency, officer, or 
employee of the United States, acting under any law other than this 
subsection, to institute or intervene in any proceeding.
    (g) Limitation.--If the only jurisdictional basis for applying a 
provision of this Act is a claim that a substantial burden by a 
government on religious exercise affects, or that removal of that 
substantial burden would affect, commerce with foreign nations, among 
the several States, or with Indian tribes, the provision shall not apply 
if the government demonstrates that all substantial burdens on, or the 
removal of all substantial burdens from, similar religious exercise 
throughout the Nation would not lead in the aggregate to a substantial 
effect on commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, or 
with Indian tribes.

SEC. 5. <<NOTE: 42 USC 2000cc-3.>> RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.

    (a) Religious Belief Unaffected.--Nothing in this Act shall be 
construed to authorize any government to burden any religious belief.
    (b) Religious Exercise Not Regulated.--Nothing in this Act shall 
create any basis for restricting or burdening religious exercise or for 
claims against a religious organization including any religiously 
affiliated school or university, not acting under color of law.
    (c) Claims to Funding Unaffected.--Nothing in this Act shall create 
or preclude a right of any religious organization to receive funding or 
other assistance from a government, or of any person to receive 
government funding for a religious activity, but this Act may require a 
government to incur expenses in its own operations to avoid imposing a 
substantial burden on religious exercise.
    (d) Other Authority To Impose Conditions on Funding Unaffected.--
Nothing in this Act shall--
            (1) authorize a government to regulate or affect, directly 
        or indirectly, the activities or policies of a person other than 
        a government as a condition of receiving funding or other 
        assistance; or
            (2) restrict any authority that may exist under other law to 
        so regulate or affect, except as provided in this Act.

    (e) Governmental Discretion in Alleviating Burdens on Religious 
Exercise.--A government may avoid the preemptive force of any provision 
of this Act by changing the policy or practice that results in a 
substantial burden on religious exercise, by retaining the policy or 
practice and exempting the substantially burdened religious exercise, by 
providing exemptions from the policy or practice for applications that 
substantially burden religious exercise, or by any other means that 
eliminates the substantial burden.
    (f) Effect on Other Law.--With respect to a claim brought under this 
Act, proof that a substantial burden on a person's religious exercise 
affects, or removal of that burden would affect, commerce with foreign 
nations, among the several States, or with Indian tribes, shall not 
establish any inference or presumption that Congress intends that any 
religious exercise is, or is not, subject to any law other than this 
Act.
    (g) Broad Construction.--This Act shall be construed in favor of a 
broad protection of religious exercise, to the maximum extent permitted 
by the terms of this Act and the Constitution.
    (h) No Preemption or Repeal.--Nothing in this Act shall be construed 
to preempt State law, or repeal Federal law, that is equally as 
protective of religious exercise as, or more protective of religious 
exercise than, this Act.
    (i) Severability.--If any provision of this Act or of an amendment 
made by this Act, or any application of such provision to any person or 
circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, 
the amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provision to 
any other person or circumstance shall not be affected.

SEC. 6. <<NOTE: 42 USC 2000cc-4.>> ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE UNAFFECTED.

    Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect, interpret, or in 
any way address that portion of the first amendment to the Constitution 
prohibiting laws respecting an establishment of religion (referred to in 
this section as the ``Establishment Clause''). Granting government 
funding, benefits, or exemptions, to the extent permissible under the 
Establishment Clause, shall not constitute a violation of this Act. In 
this section, the term ``granting'', used with respect to government 
funding, benefits, or exemptions, does not include the denial of 
government funding, benefits, or exemptions.
SEC. 7. AMENDMENTS TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT.

    (a) Definitions.--Section 5 of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act 
of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb-2) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1), by striking ``a State, or a 
        subdivision of a State'' and inserting ``or of a covered 
        entity'';
            (2) in paragraph (2), by striking ``term'' and all that 
        follows through ``includes'' and inserting ``term `covered 
        entity' means''; and
            (3) in paragraph (4), by striking all after ``means'' and 
        inserting ``religious exercise, as defined in section 8 of the 
        Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.''.

    (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 6(a) of the Religious Freedom 
Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb-3(a)) is amended by striking 
``and State''.

SEC. 8. <<NOTE: 42 USC 2000cc-5.>> DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Claimant.--The term ``claimant'' means a person raising 
        a claim or defense under this Act.
            (2) Demonstrates.--The term ``demonstrates'' means meets the 
        burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.
            (3) Free exercise clause.--The term ``Free Exercise Clause'' 
        means that portion of the first amendment to the Constitution 
        that proscribes laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
            (4) Government.--The term ``government''--
                    (A) means--
                          (i) a State, county, municipality, or other 
                      governmental entity created under the authority of 
                      a State;
                          (ii) any branch, department, agency, 
                      instrumentality, or official of an entity listed 
                      in clause (i); and
                          (iii) any other person acting under color of 
                      State law; and
                    (B) for the purposes of sections 4(b) and 5, 
                includes the United States, a branch, department, 
                agency, instrumentality, or official of the United 
                States, and any other person acting under color of 
                Federal law.
            (5) Land use regulation.--The term ``land use regulation'' 
        means a zoning or landmarking law, or the application of such a 
        law, that limits or restricts a claimant's use or development of 
        land (including a structure affixed to land), if the claimant 
        has an ownership, leasehold, easement, servitude, or other 
        property interest in the regulated land or a contract or option 
        to acquire such an interest.
            (6) Program or activity.--The term ``program or activity'' 
        means all of the operations of any entity as described in 
        paragraph (1) or (2) of section 606 of the Civil Rights Act of 
        1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d-4a).
            (7) Religious exercise.--
                    (A) In general.--The term ``religious exercise'' 
                includes any exercise of religion, whether or not 
                compelled by, or central to, a system of religious 
                belief.
                    (B) Rule.--The use, building, or conversion of real 
                property for the purpose of religious exercise shall be 
                considered to be religious exercise of the person or 
                entity that uses or intends to use the property for that 
                purpose.

    Approved September 22, 2000.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 2869:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 146 (2000):
            July 27, considered and passed Senate and House.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 36 (2000):
            Sept. 22, Presidential statement.

                                  <all>

Pages: 1

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