Action Steps to Support the Religion is Essential Act, SB 397

  • Come to the Capitol Hearing:
    The Religion is Essential Act will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, April 13th, in the Senate Chamber with the hearing starting at 1:30 p.m. You can attend the hearing live and even voice your support for the bill. It’s a long hearing with lots of bills to be heard, so plan to stay all afternoon.
  • Watch the Hearing Online and Voice your Support for SB 397 Over the Phone. CALL Phone Number: 844-867-6163, Access Code: 1101654
    If you can’t attend the hearing in person, then you can call in and voice your support for SB 397 over the phone. Go here for instructions on how to do that and watch this “how-to-video” from our friends at Capitol Resource Institute. The phone number and access code will be on this website 24 hours before the hearing.
  • Call in Campaign:
    Call your Senator and encourage him or her to support the Religion is Essential Act. Click here and we will get you connected for your Senator.
  • Sign the Religion is Essential Act

We are excited California State Senator Brian Jones of Santee has authored the Religion is Essential Act, a bill sponsored by the California Family Council and several other allied organizations to protect the religious liberty of churches and other religious organizations during a state of emergency.

As you know this past year Governor Newcom relegated churches to “second class” status by preventing them from using their facilities during the pandemic, while exempting secular businesses and services from these requirements.

Watch this great interview about the Religion is Essential Act between California Family Council President Jonathan Keller, Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Greg Chafuen, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, and California State Senator Brian Jones.

Here is what SB 397 does:

  • Require that the Governor and local governments treat religious services as an essential service (just like retail) during any declared state of emergency; and
  • Prohibit the state and local governments from discriminating against a religious organization during an emergency; and
  • Require the state and local governments to permit religious services to continue operating during an emergency; and
  • Prohibit the state and local governments from enforcing a health, safety or occupancy requirement that imposes a substantial burden on a religious service during an emergency; and
  • Allow a religious organization that has been subject to state or local government overreach to file a claim for relief in an administrative or judicial proceeding.
  • Read the SB 397 bill text…

Additional Information:

Additional Action Steps to Support SB 397

Churches and Organizations:

The Religion is Essential Act has been assigned to be heard first by the Senate Judiciary Committee. We need churches and other organizations to send in letters of support for SB 397 using their church/organization’s letterhead. Here is a sample letter you can use.

Address SB 397 letters of support to:

Senator Thomas J. Umberg
Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee
State Capitol, Room 2187
Sacramento, California 95814

Save these letters as PDFs and then submit them to the Senate Judiciary Committee through the Advocacy Portal, e-mail, letter, fax, or e-fax. All the details for sending in letters can be found here:
Feel free to call CFC at (949) 244-2080 if you run into problems or have questions.


Sign the Religion is Essential Petition

These signatures will be used by Senator Brian Jones to show other legislators just how much support there is for the Religion is Essential Act.

Suggested social media posts:

  • Practicing religion can be done safely, even during a pandemic. That’s why I’m coauthoring the #ReligionIsEssentialAct to ensure the government never tramples upon our religious freedoms again. #CALeg
  • While the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that CA’s COVID restrictions violated our religious rights, the threat to infringe upon them again is still looming. I’m supporting the #ReligionIsEssentialAct to make sure that does not happen. #CALeg
  • One can be shoulder to shoulder in a store but cannot be socially distanced at church. I’m coauthoring the #ReligionIsEssentialAct to make sure restrictions put on places of worship are no stricter than other services deemed essential like bog box stores. #CALeg
  • “If Hollywood may host a studio audience or film a singing competition while not a single soul may enter California’s churches, synagogues, and mosques, something has gone seriously awry.” -Justice Gorsuch
  • I’m supporting the #ReligionIsEssentialAct to protect religious freedoms.
Download and use on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social media accounts.

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