Bill Description: House Bill 414 takes steps to protect religious freedom and religious exemptions in Idaho.
Analyst Note: H414 is one of several pieces of legislation introduced during the November meeting of the 2021 session to address the issue of vaccine mandates in Idaho.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
H414 creates Section 67-5909B, Idaho Code, to clarify and expand the right to refuse medical treatment based on religious beliefs. Specifically it says, "Any person may refuse medical treatment of any kind based on the person's religious beliefs."
Under current law, employers are allowed to demand proof of the sincerity of a claimed religious belief. This bill would change that saying, "No governmental entity, employer, or any other entity may question the sincerity of the religious beliefs claimed by a person."
The bill would have done well to end the new language there. Instead, it adds an additional sentence which says, "Government, employers, and other entities may adopt forms upon which the religious exemption is claimed, which may include a waiver by the person claiming the religious exemption of liability or any other responsibility on the part of the government, employer, or other entity for the person's refusal of medical treatment."
It is concerning that the exercise of one's religious freedom would require signing a waiver and a release of liability.