Letters to the Editor

No, HB 1523 won't cost state funding

David Woodburn (and others) assert that HB 1523 will result in the loss of millions in federal aid because state agencies must formally attest they will abide by "the requirement of any ... nondiscrimination statutes which may apply."

HB 1523 precisely states its purpose: "To provide certain protections regarding a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction for persons, religious organizations and private associations."

HB 1523 does not extend these legal protections to state or municipal agencies. State and municipal agencies would be well within their right to attest in the positive when signing any Certificate and Assurance to receive federal aid.

While individual employees of state and municipal agencies may seek recusal on the basis of moral conviction or religious belief, these employees are prohibited from impeding or delaying the actions/services being sought.

This means that state and municipal agencies will be required to satisfy the actions and services being sought, thus the agencies will remain in full compliance with federal nondiscriminatory requirements under the law. Individuals, religious organizations and private associations do not and never have constituted any legal relationship that would define them as state or municipal agencies.

Simply put, recusal of an individual employed by a state or municipal agency does not constitute discrimination by the agency itself. Read HB 1523.

STEPHEN GRIMES

Gautier

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