Governor Brown Signs the California Religious Freedom Act (SB 31)

The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) today applauded Governor Brown’s signing of the California Religious Freedom Act (SB 31), marking a “momentous victory” for civil rights organizations.

CAIR-CA said the bill, introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara, will provide critical protections to Californians of all faiths and prevent local law enforcement’s participation in a federal registry based on religion, national origin, and ethnicity.

SB 31 will prevent a state or local agency, or a public employee from participating in a federal program to create a database based on a person’s religious beliefs, practices or affiliations, national origin, or ethnicity, for law enforcement or immigration purposes. It will also prevent state and local law enforcement agencies from collecting information on the religious beliefs, practices, or affiliations of an individual.

In Governor Brown’s 2017 State of the State Address, he affirmed that, “It is that spirit of perseverance and courage which built our state from the beginning. And it is that spirit which will get us through the great uncertainty and the difficulties ahead.”

“This is a community victory. Hundreds of Muslims and allies from across the state visited their legislators, sent emails, made phone calls, and more to advocate for the passage of this much needed civil rights law,” said CAIR-SFBA Government Relations Coordinator Sameena Usman.

CAIR-CA advocated for SB 31 at its 6th Annual Muslim Day at the Capitol during which more than 700 Muslims across California gathered in Sacramento to urge their legislators’ support.

“We applaud Governor Brown’s commitment to preserving the civil liberties of all Californians,” said CAIR-CA Legislative and Government Affairs Coordinator Yannina Casillas. “Today, California took a proactive stance in protecting the civil liberties and religious freedoms of all Californians. With the signing of SB 31, Californians know that our great state will stand up to any federal policy that targets vulnerable communities.”

This legislation was sponsored by CAIR-California, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-California, and ACLU-California. It was additionally supported by MPower Change, PICO California, SIREN, and Faith in the Valley, among others.